Fabulously funny, sharp and yet also touching and poignant, this semi-autobiographical novel from Nina Stibbe is wonderfully captivating and engaging. Two sisters (aged 11 and 9), conclude that finding their newly divorced mother a man will lead to happiness and turnaround the distinct unwelcome the family received after moving to a new home in 1970. Stibbe writes in such a way that you feel you are there, in that very moment, helping to plot an often unwittingly devious and destructive strategy. Achingly sad, moving and outrageous in turn, this evocative well observed novel shows how children know more than we think, think more than they should and have the ability to bounce back from adversity time after time. Just a quick bit of advice; snorts, giggles and guffaws will escape at will, so think carefully before reading in public. ~ Liz Robinson
Man at the Helm, the debut novel from Nina Stibbe - the much-loved author of Love, Nina - is a wildly comic, brilliantly sharp-eyed novel about the horrors of being an attractive divorcee in an English village in the 1970s, and a family's fall from grace...My sister and I and our little brother were born (in that order) into a very good situation and apart from the odd new thing life was humdrum and comfortable until an evening in 1970 when my mother listened in to my father's phone call and ended up blowing her nose on a tea towel - a thing she'd only have done in an absolute emergency. Not long after her parents' separation, heralded by an awkward scene involving a wet Daily Telegraph and a pan of cold eggs, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, her sister and little brother and their now divorcee mother are packed off to a small, slightly hostile village in the English countryside. Their mother is all alone, only thirty-one years of age, with three young children and a Labrador. It is no wonder, when you put it like that, that she becomes a menace and a drunk. And a playwright. Worried about the bad playwriting - though more about becoming wards of court and being sent to the infamous Crescent Home for Children - Lizzie and her sister decide to contact, by letter, suitable men in the area. In order to stave off the local social worker they urgently need to find a new Man at the Helm.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
'Within a few pages I was completely caught up in the lives of Lizzie and her family ... I couldn't have loved it more' -- Lisa Jewell
'An unassuming comic genius' Independent
'Charming, warm-hearted and gently but irresistibly funny' Sunday Times (on Love, Nina)
'Funny, warm, life-affirming and accutely well-observed...A hoot' Metro (on Love, Nina)
Publication date: 18/06/2015
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
|Publication date:||18th June 2015|
|Publisher:||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Reader Reviewed Books, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Nina Stibbe grew up in Leicestershire before moving to London in the 1980s. She is the author of the massively acclaimed Love, Nina, and lives with her partner and children in Cornwall. Author photo © Rebecca DaweMore About Nina Stibbe