Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life

December 16, 2013

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

love ninaIn 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.

Annabel’s review: I have just finished this book having sat up most of the night and there are not many books that can keep me from my bed. It is so honest and true to life and at 2 a.m. I was laughing out load much to the bewilderment of my dogs! It would make a great Xmas gift for anyone who has ever worked as a Nanny or who has employed one. Nina has a tremendous way with words that just makes one laugh with her and at life!

I adored this book, and 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)

Last year, we had Roger Mortimer’s splendidly bufferish Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son. Love, Nina – funny, quirky, vivid and touching – is every bit its equal (Daily Mail (Book of the Week))

I loved this book. What a beady eye she has for domestic life, and how deliciously fresh and funny she is – a real discovery. (Deborah Moggach, author of ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’)

Funny, warm, life-affirming and accutely well-observed, Love, Nina is a gift that will keep on giving . . . A hoot (Metro)

The snippets of dialogue and vingettes evoke the characters and atmosphere brilliantly . . . Funny, sharp (Evening Standard)

Like a 1980s Mary Poppins with a sense of humour (Stylist)

The funniest new writer to arrive in years (Andrew O’Hagan)

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