Beautiful World, Where are You by Sally Rooney

Published on January 19, 2022

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Reviewed by Nicole Zimmermann 

In Sally Rooney’s highly anticipated third novel, friends Eileen and Alice strive to find meaning in the world beyond the trivialities of romance. However, as Eileen rekindles a flirtation with childhood friend Simon and Alice meets the cynic Felix, they find that sex and relationships continue to dominate their lives. Eileen is stuck in a dead-end career at thirty and Alice is struggling to get her life back on track following a mental breakdown, despite her literary success. The reader is immersed in the lives of Eileen and Alice through third person narration and their emails to each other. The email exchanges enhance the narration by making the reader feel like a recipient of the message and therefore, making the reader more familiar with the characters in between narrative chapters. Rooney’s writing is intimate and continues to explore the struggles of millennials. Young people face fewer barriers than ever to be together; so why do so many struggle to be with the ones they love?

While this book may feel unrelatable to those who are of a different generation, this book spoke deeply to me as someone who is coming of age during a pandemic and global warming crisis, but who’s life is still somehow defined by love through family, friends, and romantic partners.

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Favorite Excerpt: “And I love that about humanity, and in fact it's the very reason I root for us to survive - because we are so stupid about each other.”

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