But how could a television series hope to match the emotional intensity and raw honesty of Sally Rooney’s book, that seemed somehow able to look directly into the hearts and souls of two lovestruck young people?
Paul Mescal’s performance as Connell, all repressed emotion and open-heartedness, has rightly been heralded as star-making. But let’s not forget that Daisy Edgar-Jones, as Marianne, did all the heart-wrenching, all the passion, all the angst and insecurity, all the break ups and make ups, but backwards and gazing out from beneath a highly influential fringe.
While Connell was popular, sporty and smart, Marianne was proud, lonely, privileged and, whisper it, equally smart – waiting out her unhappy schooldays until she could blossom on a bigger stage.Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription
Understated storytelling is just as hard to pull off on screen as it is in print. But, again, anew, we were drawn in to the lives of Marianne and Connell just as the two young protagonists are repeatedly drawn together. The best telling of young love and its complications you could hope to see, brilliantly adapted and acted with supreme skill.
Like the book, the series made storytelling this beautiful look simple. And it really isn’t. But how did it feel to be right at the heart of Normal People? To watch your star rising as more and more people became addicted to this beautiful, intimate TV drama, at precisely the time we were all keeping our distance from each other?
No one to celebrate with. No one to recognise you in the street. And no big budget new movie to cash in with as the entertainment industry, like so many others, shut down for large parts of the year. We asked Daisy Edgar-Jones…