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How Normal People's book ending is very different from TV show

Sally Rooney wrote Normal People and Conversations with Friends

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Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
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Viewers have been obsessed with BBC Three's new show Normal People, which follows the lives of young lovers Connell and Marianne. The 12-part show, which is based on the novel by Sally Rooney, ended on a bittersweet note when (spoiler alert), the couple finally get together properly, only to part once more as Connell accepts a place at a school in New York City, while Marianne remains in Dublin, content with her life there. So how was the book ending different to the show?

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In the show, it is indicated that Marianne and Connell part ways once more as he tells her he plans to accept his place there at her encouragement, and it seems to hint that a long-distance relationship won't be on the cards as Marianne tells him that he doesn't know what might happen when he tells her that he'll never love anyone the way he loves her. While the show's ending is very similar to the book, the novel is left more ambiguously, with the readers' never explicitly finding out whether Connell takes up the offer to go to NYC or to stay in Dublin with Marianne. 

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The TV show ended with Marianne remaining in Dublin as Connell went to NYC

Both the novel and the TV show are certainly left open-ended enough for a follow-up, and according to reports, BBC bosses have been keen to make a second season of the show. Speaking about a possible season two while on The One Show, Daisy Edgar-Jones said: "I hope that they remain that level of settled and happy that they get to by the end of the series. It’s wonderful that Marianne enables him to follow his dream as a writer in New York, so I really hope he sticks at it and carries on doing what he loves." 

READ: The cast of Normal People: who's single and who's in a relationship?

She continued: "I kind of imagine that [Marianne] moves in with Lorraine [Connell’s mum] and they have quite a happy, little life together!" Paul Mescal added that Connell would want to leave New York early to see Marianne.

READ: Will this be Normal People's Paul Mescal's first project after hit BBC show?