In the 1980s, Nina Stibbe wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester describing her trials and triumphs as a nanny to a London family.
There’s a cat nobody likes, a visiting dog called Ted Hughes (Ted for short) and suppertime visits from a local playwright. Not to mention the two boys, their favourite football teams, and rude words, a very broad-minded mother and assorted nice chairs.
From the mystery of the unpaid milk bill and the avoidance of nuclear war to mealtime discussions on pie filler, the greats of English literature, swearing in German and sexually transmitted diseases, Love, Nina is a wonderful celebration of bad food, good company and the relative merits of Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton.
At the age of 20, Nina Stibbe moved from Leicestershire to London to become a nanny. Later she studied at Thames Polytechnic and worked in publishing. She now lives in Cornwall with her partner and children.
“I adored this book, and I could quote from it forever. It’s real, odd, life-affirming, sharp, loving, and contains more than one reference to Arsenal FC” (Nick Hornby, The Believer)
"Adrian Mole meets Mary Poppins mashed up in literary north London... Enormous fun” (Bookseller)
“What a beady eye she has for domestic life, and how deliciously fresh and funny she is” (Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
“Despatches from Family Life is the laugh-out-loud story of the trials and tribulations of a very particular family. Breezy, sophisticated, hilarious, rude and aching with sweetness; Love, Nina might be the most charming book I’ve ever read” (Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette)
“Nina Stibbe is the funniest new writer to arrive in years. Love, Nina is her first book - a memoir so warm, so witty and so wise, it’s like finding the friend you always deserved” (Andrew O, Hagan)
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An hilarious and joyful look into an era
I have already told my friends about this book - and even Twitter. It ws witty, charming and hilarious. I wish it had been longer.
A grown-up female Adrian Mole, perhaps. Or maybe early Nick Hornby.`
Nina Stibbe read her book and she was excellent. One knew where the emphasis was meant to be. Her sense of timing was superb. I felt as if I were in the same room as Nina.
I do not compare novels to films and do not watch Hollywood films.
The pacing, brevity of the sentences, incredible detail and humour made this book one I will most definitely listen to again. I couldn't get enough. I loved the literary scene and references to literature. Rare these days, but most welcome.
- Toby "Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too."
Immensely clever and very funny.
Book was read by the writer herself; hence, she knew exactly how to deliver the lines. Really brilliant.
_I Capture the Castle_. Witty and irreverent.
See answer to question 1.
I was laughing out loud quite often.
Was really annoyed by other reviews with "nanny" in the title and /or "you-can-do-it-too" type of implications. This is a very clever and talented human being, with a terrific sense of humour and incredibly observant of the mores of her time. Let's give her the praise she deserves.
- Luna Max