I’m back to work every day again (I’ve been in and out of the office for three days a week the past two months), which means my down time is fully dedicated to reading the books on my list! Megan recently traded me five of her favorite novels and short story collections, one of which is Irish author Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations With Friends. Rooney also wrote Normal People (here’s the final page if you want a spoiler alert)—her second book that BBC and Hulu recently turned into a 12 part series, which I consumed in one day with such ferocity I felt as though I were a part of the story myself (my review of the show and book and which one I preferred is soon to come!). Conversations With Friends is Megan’s favorite of Rooney’s two novels, and I think I would shockingly agree with her on that choice (I still love Marianne and Connell so so much!!) because of its subject matter and character relatability. The book is about the intertwining friendships and relationships between best friends/university students/former lovers Frances and Bobbi and a slightly famous older married couple Nick and Melissa. Frances and Bobbi meet photographer Melissa after one of their spoken word poetry performances and the three strike up a friendship that soon involves Melissa’s husband Nick. After a few meetings, Nick and Frances begin an illicit affair that shortly comes to light, and the messy relationship that follows is consuming. Obviously the affair is forbidden and in reality, a completely shitty and unforgivable thing to do, but Rooney’s writing in Conversations With Friends drew me in so much so that I felt like a lingering presence in the novel myself. Frances and Nick are both damaged people who find comfort in each other (not unlike Marianne and Connell in Normal People) and I loved how Rooney illustrated the luxuries and explosively damaging moments in their relationship. She meticulously fixated on the details of Frances and Nick’s connection that eventually became larger themes in the whole of the novel (ie: Frances’ self harm, Nick’s depression, their shared emotional immaturity) in a way that made the story feel raw and exposed. And by the end of the book, I was fully invested in Frances and Nick and wanted them to find their way back to each other for good (though I assume most feminists would feel the exact opposite). I suppose Rooney’s narrative is just that good that she has me cheering on infidelity! Who would have thought? I would give this book 5/5 stars and a recommendation that future readers savor each page instead of rushing through till the ending (like I foolishly did)!