Summer seems to be taking over my life, so this review is going to be quick and dirty. That is no slight on Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe, but the sun is shining and I’ve got to get out there.
Love, Nina is a collection of letters Nina wrote to her sister in the 1980s while she was nannying in London. That might not sound great, but it is. Nina is un-selfconsciously funny in a way that can only be compared to Adrian Mole. Her day-to-day life in London is seriously more interesting than my life at any point. Her attempts at cooking sounds woefully inadequate and yet the family she’s working for don’t seem to mind. And everything is commented upon by Alan Bennett and other London luminaries of the day.
The most impressive thing about Love, Nina is that it is comprised of missives to her sister. The writing is brilliant for someone who was not trying to impress anyone. At the time, Nina surely didn’t know that she would one day go onto publish these letters, but the writing is so clear and concise with scathing observations.
Love, Nina has been on my TBR for quite some time now. It was a smash hit in the UK. But the reason I’ve now read it is because I will be seeing Stibbe at the Edinburgh Book Festival where she will be talking about her new novel. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say, especially since the new novel is purported to be rather autobiographical.
Who would like this book? I can sum this up in a few key words: British, 1980s, funny, Adrian Mole. If that gets your attention, then this book is for you.
I heard a lot of this serialised on Radio 4 around Christmas time and really enjoyed it so will get around to reading the full book at some point. Thanks for the reminder!
I imagine Stibbe read it herself. I think it would make a great audio book.
Looks like it was read by someone called Rebekah Staton, not sure who she is. The actual episodes are unavailable but there is still a clip on the website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03nnv7y
I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while! Have a wonderful time at the Edinburgh Book Festival — I’m jealous.
I have been tempted by this for a while, especially as I myself was nanny anthem end of the 1980’s admittedly I didn’t live in though I think I would love the book *sigh* but I have so many already.
You might have a good laugh at it.
That should have said a nanny at the end of the 1980’s – duh.
I hadn’t expected to enjoy Love, Nina as much as I did – there seemed to be a lot of hype around it when it was published – but it’s a little gem. I’m not surprised Nina hit it off with Alan Bennett, it’s as if she walked out of a Bennett play herself. I particularly like the way she was completely unphased by the NW1 literati. I hope you have a lovely time in Edinburgh.
At first I didn’t think i’d like it either. Who wants to read someone else’s letters? But it was really great and had a good story arc and everything.
British, 1980s, funny. Well. Sounds like I need to grab a copy!
Wow, I wish I just wrote funny, scathing observations in my personal correspondence! How cool would that be!
I know, when I look back at letters I wrote when I was 20 they’re just lame.
Short but sweet review–thanks! I am going to add this to my TBR pile since it sounds like something a bit different and fun.
I enjoyed this book, especially the glimpses at life in literary circles in the eighties eg. Shirley Conran living over the back fence!
This is a new-to-me author and I love the sound of this book. I’m going to check it out! I hear what you say about summer. It is so hard for me right now to sit at my desk and do anything on my computer.
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