MixedCleveland Review of BooksAt her best, Rooney has Salter’s decisiveness, a writerly confidence that lets simple, well-placed phrases ring truly and without excessive qualification ... Rooney is particularly accomplished at sharply observing the small nuances of social behavior ... So then, the writing is often admirable and the book goes down smoothly and overall the reading experience was more or less a pleasant one. Why then, having finished it, is there this lingering feeling of disappointment, this sense like: That’s it? ... I believe I single out Rooney among her peers for the promise she more often than not displays. What I would like to contend is that what other reviewers have tentatively critiqued as a rushed quality in her latest work...is a more serious flaw literarily. That throughout Normal People, a novel that seems to want at once to capture a certain modern disaffection and provide the comforts of a classical love story, Rooney displays what I found to be a kind of cold, artistic indifference towards her characters and their world, and the potential for either to be more interesting than they are immediately ... overwhelmingly the novel chooses to refer to the power of literature rather than perform the immeasurably more difficult task of doing what literature should ... Despite my conflicted feelings I still look forward to reading more of Rooney’s work. She has a keener eye than most and her prose is often a joy to read.