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Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life [Kindle Edition]

Nina Stibbe

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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')

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')

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)

Even if Adrian Mole wrote about the Primrose Hill set, it wouldn't be as funny and absorbing as Love, Nina (Psychologies)

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

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

Adrian Mole meets Mary Poppins mashed up in literary north London . . . Enormous fun (Bookseller)

This is the funniest book I've read in ages, a complete treat (Sunday Times)

Nina has an ear for dialogue that would not disgrace Pinter (though her dialogue is pacier) (Observer)

This is by far the funniest, most genuinely heart-warming account of the everyday I've read. Stibbe is an unassuming comic genius (Independent)

Stibbe is a native genius in the form (Guardian)

Absolutely lovely . . . Do read this: it's hilarious and will make you happy as the nights get darker (Emerald Street)

In the end, what we take away is simply the art of writing a stonking good letter (Mail on Sunday)

Love, Nina is suffused with as much warmth as it is with wit, the kind of book you find yourself reading out to whoever is within earshot. It deserves to be the left-field breakout hit of the year (Sunday Express)

A real life-enhancer of a book . . . Hysterically funny (India Knight)

Very, very funny (BBC Radio 2)

Stibbe has a knack for recounting dialogue, and Alan Bennett's discussions with the children are priceless (Libby Purves The Times)

A cross between Adrian Mole and I Capture the Castle (Irish Times)

Very funny and sharp (Stephen Frears Guardian 'Books of the Year')

Funny and sharp and has a distinctive streak of wildness: no book this year has made me laugh more (John Lanchester Guardian 'Books of the Year')

Addictively funny (Rachel Johnson)

For Christmas I'm hoping for Nina Stibbe's Love, Nina (Catherine O'Flynn Observer 'Books of the Year')

Her letters home to her sister are suffused with an air of wide-eyed mischief (Molly Guiness Spectator 'Books of the Year')

Gentle and sharp, the book is full of terrible food and great insights on subjects ranging from hidden rubbish bins (good) to Geoffrey Chaucer (bad) (Lucy Kellway FT 'Books of the Year')

This collection of letters to Stibbe's sister is a hilarious portrait of the London literati by a naïve yet comically gifted correspondent (Emily Stokes FT 'Books of the Year')

Full of wry humour, the book is charming, warm-hearted and gently but irresistibly funny (Andrew Holgate Sunday Times 'Books of the Year')

So fleet is Stibbe's turn of phrase and so sharp her ear for dialogue that . . . I doubt there has been a more sparkling collection of letters published (New Statesman)

Love, Nina collects her hilarious letters home to Leicester (YOU Magazine 'Books of the Year')

Stibbe is an acute observer of human foibles, and this is the funniest collection of letters since Roger Mortimer's Dear Lupin (Mail on Sunday 'Books of the Year')

There's something irresistible about Nina's wide-eyed naughtiness (Spectator)

Properly heartwarming (Financial Times)

A hoot. Her funny and well-observed letters offer a slice of 1980s life (Patricia Nicol Evening Standard 'Books of the Year')

Wonderful and genuinely hilarious. An extremely honest and affectionate account of some extraordinary people (Mark Williams)

Loved loved loved Love, Nina - possibly the funniest book ever. Absolutely brilliant. Am still chortling to self (Gill Hornby)

Each letter is a perfect insightful little gem and Nina has a dagger-sharp ear for dialogue. I honestly felt like my best friend had emigrated when I had to put this book down at the end (Lisa Jewell)

I can't remember a book since Adrian Mole that so brilliantly, drily nailed day-to-day life in BRILLIANT, faux-naive prose (Caitlin Moran)



'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

Nina Stibbe's Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life is the laugh-out-loud story of the trials and tribulations of a very particular family.

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.

'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


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2121 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 314 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0316243396
  • Verlag: Penguin (7. November 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 024196508X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241965085
  • ASIN: B00CPU9NV0
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #122.363 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.6 von 5 Sternen  119 Rezensionen
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Quirky and charming 8. Mai 2014
Von Kindles & Wine Book Blog - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition

This is a quirky and charming little book, composed entirely of Nina Stibbe's letters to her sister Victoria after she moved to London to be a nanny. Nina's letters aren't really like any letters I've read before, and they're very unlike letters I would write. Nina is hilarious and she has a keen ear for dialogue. She observes the most unusual things and manages to make the most mundane tasks funny (see excerpt below regarding laundering pillows). Throughout the book, she includes lots of little mini-dialogues between her and Mary-Kay (MK, her boss) and Sam and Will (her charges). For example:

MK: What are these?

Me: Pillows.

MK: Yes, but why have I got them? Where are my usual ones?

Me: Sam's probably got your usual ones.

MK: So what are these?

Me: I think they might be the ones I laundered.

MK: Laundered?

Me: Took to the launderette.

MK: Are they washable?

Me: Not as such, but it was kill or cure.

MK: It was kill.

To find that little vignette I literally just turned to a random page in the book. I find exchanges like this so charming because I would never think to write about a conversation like that in a letter, but it so perfectly illustrates the things that make up daily life. Her writing also made me really want to be a fly on the wall in that house so I could listen in on the razor sharp wit.

I should tell you that Mary-Kay is Mary-Kay Wilmers, who at that time was the editor of the London Review of Books. She is friends with several of the literary/cultural elite of London in the 1980s--Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, Claire Tomalin--most of whom stop by the house regularly. (The only one of those I had heard of before reading the book was Alan Bennett, because of his recent book The Uncommon Reader.) So this isn't just any household that Nina has found herself in--she ends up rubbing elbows with some pretty famous people.

This is a fairly breezy read--there's not much plot, per se, although I did become invested in the boys and Mary-Kay and I couldn't help but root for Nina as she began studying at university. But it's not really a page's more of a quiet and thoughtful book, perfect if you don't want anything too heavy or just have a few minutes to read (the letters are short, so it's easy to read a few in a short time). You could say it is "light reading" at its best.

The book has gotten quite a few absolutely glowing reviews, and while I liked it and enjoyed reading it, I didn't LOVE it. There is a lot in this book that feels like "inside baseball," meaning that I bet this book is infinitely more fun to read if you happen to have come of age in England in the 1980s. There are so many cultural and political references, as well as the ins and outs of living in England during that time, that I just couldn't fully appreciate (not having come of age in England in the 1980s).

I always get a little sad when I read these kinds of books because nobody seems to write letters anymore, do they? (It's all texting now, isn't it?) It's too bad, because letters are so fun...and it was fun to look back at how the letters included in this book told the story of Nina and her life through small glimpses. Let's just say I don't think anyone will ever compile a book of text messages...

Recommended for light and fun reading, especially if you happen to have grown up in England in the 1980s. I think this would be a great beach read or a book to read when you want something that you can dip into and out of easily. Parts are very, very funny and made me want to live with Mary-Kay, Sam, Will, and Nina.


Note: I received a review copy of this title courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The Nanny Letters 29. Januar 2014
Von takingadayoff - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
When Nina Stibbe applied for a job as nanny to a family in Bloomsbury, she was twenty years old, had never lived in London, and was unaware of the literary celebrities who would soon populate her world.

This was in the early 1980s and she was used to having long, detailed chats with her sister back home every night after work. Since her sister didn't have convenient access to a phone, Nina wrote her frequent letters, telling her about the family she was living with, the people who visited, tidbits about her new London neighborhood.

Her sister found the letters recently and as unlikely as it all seems, now they're a book. The book is in two parts, the first part is Nina's letters to sister Victoria as she settles in with the Mary Kay and her sons Sam and Will, ages nine and ten. Mary Kay Wilmers is an editor (and founder) at The London Review of Books. Her ex-husband and the father of the boys is Stephen Frears, a movie director. Alan Bennett lives just across the street and is over for dinner most evenings. Jonathan Miller lives down a few doors, close enough to borrow things from. Michael Frayn, playwright, is a neighbor, as is John Lahr, American theater critic, and a host of others. Some celebrities only pop in for cameo appearance, such as Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson.

The second part of the book consists of the letters Nina sent to Victoria from university. There's an overlap, as Nina was no longer the nanny, but Mary Kay invited her to stay at the house and Nina continued to help out but on a more casual basis. I found the university adventures less interesting than the Bloomsbury gossip.

Nina was a great letter writer, she included lots of detail, including plenty of snippets of conversation that give you a vivid picture of what the people in her life were like. She was hardly star struck, in fact her first letters to her sister describe Alan Bennett as being an actor in a soap opera and Jonathan Miller as being an opera singer.

A fun, quick trip back to the eighties for fans of the London book and theater crowd.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Nina's descriptions are simple yet accurate, and readers feel like a fly on the wall 30. April 2014
Von Bookreporter - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Nina Stibbe moves to an upscale neighborhood in North London to become a nanny to Mary-Kay Wilmers, a single mother and editor of London Review of Books. She writes home to her sister, Victoria, "Being a nanny is great. Not like a job really. Just like living in someone else's life." Her charges are Mary-Kay's two sons, Sam and Will. Nine-year-old Will is the worrier; it’s 1982, and he’s concerned about nuclear war. Sam is 10  and has some physical disabilities that aren't named. Appearing to take his condition in stride most of the time, he’s a keen observer who seems wise beyond his years.

The neighborhood is a Who's Who of literary and creative types. Alan Bennett, playwright and actor, drops in often, especially at meal time. Nina wrote Victoria that he starred in the long-running and very popular British soap opera “Coronation Street,” but she is incorrect. Jonathan Miller, actor and opera director, is another neighbor whose occupation Nina gets wrong. Eventually, she sorts it all out and comes to really enjoy being in the company of this eclectic group of folks. Her observations and descriptions of the friends and neighbors who come and go from the Wilmers household are fresh and unedited. She writes that Mary-Kay, Sam and William all have basin (bowl) haircuts, Mary-Kay often cusses, and privileged folks don't talk about money. She introduces her charges to Toffos, which Will decides are "just naked Rolos," and describes the men Mary-Kay dates.

Nina's letters to Victoria are full of opinions and bits of conversations about daily life. Nina dyes her plimsoles (sneakers) a greeny-blue in the washer, and then all the laundry seems to be a bit greeny-bluish. She is sent to the Millers to borrow a saw to trim the trunk of the Christmas tree, and the family misplaces it. Bottles of milk arrive regularly on their doorstep, but never a milk bill, even though Mary-Kay reminds the milkman. Meal-time conversations might be about the digestive system, pie fillings, a neighbor's large behind, or how to cuss in German. Children the ages of Sam and Will are keen observers of human nature, and their running commentaries are usually spot-on.

This peek into the domestic life of Mary-Kay, her children and their neighbors is quite interesting. Nina's descriptions are simple yet accurate, and readers feel like a fly on the wall. It would be interesting to dine with the family, even though Nina puts tinned tomatoes in the Hunter's Stew, which Alan Bennett considers a mistake.

Reviewed by Carole Turner
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Laugh out loud 6. Februar 2014
Von anna miles - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A delight. Laugh out loud. Letters can be awkward to read, but the economy of these ones, and in particular their use of dialogue, was winning. Nina Stibbe's youthful eye on domestic life was a pleasure.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A bit like looking through someone's photo albums. 22. April 2014
Von Kimberly V - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In 1982, Nina Stibbe moved from Leicestershire to London to take a job as a nanny. From 1982 until 1987, she worked as a nanny and went on to a polytechnic school. During this time, she wrote very frequent and detailed letters to her sister, Victoria. Love, Nina is a compilation of these letters. Nina describes being a nanny as "just like living in someone else's life" and this is exactly what readers are treated to in this novel. Nothing outrageous or sensational happens, but there are some funny parts and a few great one-liners. Overall though, reading this book was reminiscent of looking through someone else's photo albums. It is quite nice to see a few pages, but after a little while, you just want to skip to the end. That aside, I do think that the writing has a nice flow to it, so I would be interested in reading Ms. Stibbe's first work of fiction due to be published in the US in 2015.
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