I have never done a book review on my blog and for good reason. I have very strange taste and most of the time, as I'm sure it does with many, my mood dictates what I read, so assigned reading is basically a headache to me.
But Little, Brown and Company (they represent this one guy you may have heard of - James Patterson) was very understanding - they gave me a lot of book choices and promised not to hold me to any tight deadlines. So it seemed like a great opportunity to challenge myself with this blog post topic and try something new.
And so I began Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe, an endearing compilation of letters home about quirky personalities, family, food, friends, laughter and above everything, love and affection.
I almost feel like a cheat reviewing it because on of my all-time favorite authors, Nick Hornby, has already recommended it and how could I say anything better than the author of High Fidelity?
"Well, it turns out that Love, Nina is the funniest and most eccentric book I have read this year, and I am certain that it will be very loved for many years to come..."
He's right. The book is funny and eccentric. It is familiar somehow, though it is set in the early 80s and takes place in the UK. However, that said, I am quite the anglophile -- I love all things Brit. (If you don't, not to worry, there are fun glossaries all over this here internet and a "who's who" key at the front of the book makes it super easy to dive in.)
Specifically, Love, Nina takes place in 1982, when 20-year-old Stibbe moved to London to work as a nanny for a successful and respected publisher and her two opinionated, lively and often hilarious young sons. In frequent letters home to her sister, Nina described her trials and triumphs: there's a cat nobody likes, meals made no one will eat, suppertime visits from a famous local playwright, a mysteriously unpaid milk bill, and repeated misadventures parking the family car. Dinner table discussions cover the gamut, from the greats of English literature, to swearing in German, to sexually transmitted diseases. Often with added, mischievous commentary from two little boys who sometimes seem wise and acquainted with sarcasm far beyond their years.
Nina has much to learn from all the personalities in her life! I love her pure, simple and sometimes dry observations about things. In how she recounts all of her stories to her sister, I felt warm and humored. It comes across clearly, as she describes the young boys she's a nanny for, that she is amused by their antics - even when she should be a little annoyed - and loves them very much. And also, that she cares about their mum as well -- who seems like a formidable, admirable woman in her own right.
Overall, Love, Nina was a light, easy read that I think a lot of you would enjoy. Highly recommend it for a buffet of reasons!
Disclosure: I was provided with an advanced Kindle edition of this book so that I could honestly review it. There are no affiliate links or anything of that nature in this post - mostly because Amazon rejected me due to some of my racier content. Lame!