Norma: Magical curls and Hair mafia

Sofi Oksanen's Norma book

Book Review: Norma by Sofi Oksanen

A magical story of a normal girl in our normal world struggling with her mum’s death. But everything isn’t what it seems like… Oksanen has created a book full of mysteries and leaves us readers to the darkness for most of the time. Are you ready to discover the dark mysteries lingering in Finland’s peaceful capital city? I can’t recommend this book enough for everyone and it’s not just because I would love Finnish authors to take over the world.

“Century after century we’ve given our faces, our hair, our wombs, our breasts and still the money ends up in men’s pockets. They’re the leaders”

Why I read Norma from Sofi Oksanen?

Sofi Oksanen is a famous author in Finland and I feel like most people have read at least one of her books (some of us even had to read her book at school). I have personally never been that interested in the subjects she writes about because those just aren’t my kind of literature. Or so I thought. A few months ago, I was going through the books in my local discount bookshop and the beautiful cover of Norma attracted my attention. I bought the book for its cover. Even if I end up hating it, Norma would be a beautiful addition to my bookshelf.

Norma is the newest book from Sofi Oksanen and the idea of it didn’t make me that excited. However, I was going straight from the bookstore to my friend’s place for a few days. There I realized that the only book I had with me was Sofi Oksanen’s Norma. It was time to give the story a change and I fell in love after reading only a few chapters…

The plot of Norma:

Norma is totally normal (or maybe not) girl who lives in Finland’s capital Helsinki. Her mum has just committed suicide and the too noisy long forgotten mum’s friends seem to be too interested in her life. But did Norma’s mum really kill herself? Then why had everything been so totally normal just the night before? Something isn’t right, and Norma decides to find out the truth. But not all truths are what we want to know. At the same time, Norma isn’t the only person who wants to solve the mysterious past of her mum. Soon Norma’s totally normal (yeah right… far from normal) life turns out to be a fight for her life and the secret she was keeping with her mum are in danger.

My opinion of Norma:

I fell in love with this book. It’s surprising and I don’t know if I would like the other stories from Sofi Oksanen. The idea of Norma and her “powers” were interestingly done. The story is situated in our normal world, there are no fantasy characters and only Norma seems to know that not everything is like it seems to be. I have always loved reading stories that challenge our view of the world. Magical realism. Can we really know everything?

Side characters and “the bad guys” had depth. The main character is, of course, important but everyone else in the story makes it readable. Additionally, Norma mentions many problems in our society from suicide to using people in the developing countries for our own good. It doesn’t make the plot heavy to read or too serious. In fact, it’s quite the other way around. Despite these dark subjects, Oksanen has kept the light and partly humorous tone in her writing.

After reading the book in just a few days and being just dazed how much I loved it, I went online. The reviews I saw weren’t that good. People just seem to hate or not like the idea of Norma (and its hair mafia fantasy plot). Don’t get discouraged by all the negative comments you see! I loved this book. It’s something new. Something different. Something I have never before read from any author.

I want to end this review by saying that right now Norma has made its way to the list of my all-time favorite books. Totally recommended for everyone!

‘’He who controls dreams, controls the world. He who controls hair, controls women.’’

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