A review by nocto
Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney

funny lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


So, it's a novel by a novelist who has written a couple of wildly successful books that is, in part at least, about a novelist who has written a couple of wildly successful books and then had a breakdown and isn't quite sure what to do next. Books featuring writers are always a bit "is this autobiography or not?" and here it's super hard not to wonder where the real Sally Rooney ends and the fictional Alice Kelleher begins. I know nothing about the actual Sally Rooney though and have no idea if there are obvious realities or fictionalities here.  It's a romance about whether we should be reading romances when there are so many bad things going on in the world. It's a story told partly in email correspondence that often feels like the author had wandered down a Wikipedia rabbithole and then thought it would make good copy for the book. And at the end of the day it's a very well written and interesting story about friends and partners and lovers and how to keep those roles all going at the same time. I'm sure it's wildly popular and doesn't need me to recommend it. I enjoyed it and will read whatever Rooney writes next too, but I'm still not quite sure what to make of it!