Like a large amount of people, when Normal People got adapted for TV I made it my life. I watched it over and over and read the book multiple times too. So, when I found out that Conversations with Friends was also getting a TV adaptation I was incredibly excited. I made sure I had read the book before watching the TV show so that I could compare them both. It is safe to say, I loved them both. Each for slightly different reasons but I loved it.
So, I wanted to write a review for the TV series. A little warning, there are some spoilers in this review for both the book and TV adaption. So, if you haven’t read the book or watched the series yet, come back after you have!
I finished reading the book just short of 24 hours before the series was released. Then, I watched the entire series in one day and loved it. It may not have given me the same feelings that the Normal People series did. But, it made me laugh, cry and I finished the series feeling contented and calm.
For those who don’t know, Conversations with Friends tell the story of twenty-one-year-old Frances. She is a student in Dublin and an aspiring writer. At night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who also used to be her girlfriend. The pair of them befriend Melissa, who is a well-known journalist and in turn her husband, Nick, an actor. Frances and Bobbi enter a world completely different from their own. When Frances and nick unexpectedly get closer, Frances is forced to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.
The book and the TV series in my opinion are quite different. There are certain parts of the book that I felt should have been in the TV show but weren’t. That being said it tells the story incredibly well and I feel not much was lost from the plot during the TV adaptation. There are additional scenes in the series that I loved. Also, sections of the book were practically copied and pasted onto the screen which was incredible to watch.
This series, I feel, has a slightly different target audience from Normal People. If you are going into this expecting Normal People, you will be disappointed. If you go in expecting something completely different you will be surprised. Both the Sally Rooney TV adaptions are series I find incredibly comforting. Yes, they have some heavy topics but they still comfort me. They may not be very plot-heavy but they have realistic characters dealing with life and personally I love it and want more series like them.
This is the first time I have ever seen a fictional character be diagnosed with endometriosis and we need to see this so much more. I got diagnosed last year with endometriosis after a 9 year struggle to do so. Ever since, I’ve been looking for media that represented endometriosis. When I was reading the book and Frances was diagnosed I burst into tears and then did exactly the same watching the series. This series shows the horrible reality of endometriosis. The pain, the struggle getting diagnosed and even pretending that everything is alright. I am so grateful to see someone with endometriosis portrayed on television. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I am going through and I felt seen.
I enjoyed the cast of Conversations with Friends too. This is Alison Oliver’s (Frances) first major role and she is excellent. She plays Frances amazingly, shows all her emotions and issues perfectly and I cannot wait to see more of her acting. This is the first role I’ve seen Joe Alwyn (Nick) in and it certainly won’t be the last, he plays Nick exactly how he is in the book. I’ve seen Sasha Lane (Bobbi) and Jemima Kirke (Melissa) in other TV shows before and in this series they are also excellent and play the characters very true to the book.
I’ve seen a lot online about people disliking this adaptation and I can completely understand their issues with it. But, I suggest going into this series with an open-mind because you never know if you are going to be surprised. I was.
I loved the cinematography of this series. The locations I imagined whilst reading the book were literally translated to the screen. It is so beautifully shot and I loved noticing little things in each shot whilst watching.
Overall, Conversations with Friends, is an excellent, unique series that I feel so many people will love. Sally Rooney’s work may not be for everyone but I would highly recommend giving this series a watch as a taster to her work. I will definitely be re-watching this soon. I thoroughly enjoyed it.