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A smirky, fabulously quirky, poignant novel and an absolute joy to read. It is 1980, Lizzie is 18, she starts a new job working for a dentist, moves into her own flat, and thinks she may have got herself a boyfriend (but isn’t entirely sure). Lizzie is a total delight, her courage, spirit and pithy observations mix into a heady cocktail alongside her apprehension and doubt. The other characters are beautifully realised in their own right, every utterance perfectly placed, it is difficult to pick just one out as when I called them forward in my mind, they clambered over each in a riot of energy. Nina Stibbe excels in the small, in fact the incy wincy details that are so beautifully observed you didn’t know they were missing until you read them, and could see and feel the entire picture. The understanding of human frailty and poignancy of human absurdity is so wonderfully explored. There is something compelling about the writing that lodged in my mind, and took up residence in my heart. I snorted (yes actually snorted) out loud with laughter and while heartache and break is never far away, thoroughly loved every word of Reasons To Be Cheerful which earns it one of my picks of the month… it’s just gorgeous!
'When people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn't shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all'
So begins a young woman's journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.
Soon Lizzie is heading reluctantly, if at top speed, into the murky depths of adult life: where her driving instructor becomes her best friend; her first boyfriend prefers birdwatching to sex and where independence for a teenage girl might just be another word for loneliness.
In Reasons to Be Cheerful Nina Stibbe shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the vital details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive.
Closing date: 22/05/2019
The true heir to Sue Townsend -- Caitlin Moran Stibbe is herself becoming a worthy successor to Pym - Financial Times
A touch of Holden Caulfield in 1970s Leicestershire - Spectator on 'Paradise Lodge'
The funniest new writer to arrive in years -- Andrew O'Hagan She captures exactly what it's like to be a teenager, with all its contradictions, confusions, anxieties and ambitions. - The i
I'm not surprised to see that Stibbe's writing has been compared to Jane Austen's -- Emma Healey Stibbe is a terrific writer with a gift for sharp dialogue - Evening Standard
Publication date: 28/03/2019
Publisher: Viking an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
|Publication date:||28th March 2019|
|Publisher:||Viking an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Family Drama, Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Adult & contemporary romance,|
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