Friday, 8 July 2016

Review : Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life
Published by : Penguin
Date : 3 April 2014
Copy : Reviewer Purchased

The Blurb

In 1982 Nina Stibbe, a twenty-year-old from Leicester, moved to London to work as a nanny for a very particular family.  It was a perfect match : Nina had no idea how to cook, look after children, or who the weirdos who called round were.  And the family, busy discussing how to swear in German or the merits (or otherwise) of turkey mince, were delighted by her lack of skills.

Love, Nina is the collection of letters she wrote home gloriously describing her 'domestic' life, the unpredictable houseguests and the cat everyone loved to hate.

The Very Pink Notebook Review

Love, Nina - and I honestly do love Nina!  I purchased this book after attending a workshop at the Festival of Writing in which this book was used via audio-book.  I loved the snippets we heard and bought my copy as soon as I could.  When I saw they had adapted it for a TV programme, I knew I must read the book before I set out to watch the show.
A collection of letters, written by Nina Stibbe to her sister back in Leicester after she moves to the bright lights of London to become a nanny, are entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable.  The simplicity of the letters are what I loved the most.  The snippets of conversation between her two charges, Mary-Kay and the cast of people who become her world had me laughing out loud on many occasion.  It also gives a good dose of nostalgia for the 1980's in the good old south, when polytechnics were everywhere.

I love the bluntness of the letters to her sister, it's lovely that there is clearly no censorship.  I didn't care that there was no replies back with answers to the questions because that is just not what the book is about, it doesn't need them. 

I was able to dip in and out of this book as I pleased and able to read other novels alongside it.  Each letter was its only little story in itself.  With the wonderfully colourful characters that Nina lived alongside she didn't need to do anything to embellish life as she told it.  It was just, life.  And I am glad she told it.

Love, Nina gets


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