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Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life

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

Nina Stibbe
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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Product Description


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)

Product Description

'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

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2121 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316243396
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 024196508X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241965085
  • ASIN: B00CPU9NV0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,675 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Nina Stibbe was born in Leicester. She is the author of the hugely acclaimed Love, Nina. She now lives in Cornwall with her partner and two children. Man at the Helm is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dear Nina . . . 11 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is fresh and fun, and very much in the rhythm of "Dear Lupin", with the whole book comprising one half of a postal correspondence from years ago. In Dear Lupin, that correspondence was between errant son and forgiving father - here it's sister-in-the-sticks and sister-in the-bright-lights-of-literati-London. Our writer and heroine, Nina ("Stibbe") escapes small-town Lincolnshire to be billeted as a nanny in Gloucester Terrace in the eighties. Her employer is the editor of the London Review of Books, and immediate neighbours include Alan Bennett, Claire Tomalin and Michael Frayn. So there's name dropping on every page, along with cultural reminders from down the years (remember when people didn't know whether to keep balsamic vinegar in the bathroom or the kitchen?). There's a small repertory cast of characters that pop-up in Nina's daily life and hence are mentioned/critiqued in her letters to her sister. Everyone will have their own favourites - mine was fellow student Stella, she of the failed hair-dye and the postman-boyfriend who seemed to have stopped delivering. This is the tale of the nanny and childhood that none of us ever had (apart from the two quick-witted Frears boys) - and after reading this, it feels like we've all missed out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Engaging 22 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 1982, Nina Stibbe worked as a nanny for the two sons of Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books, and she lived with the family in what sounds a lovely house at number 55 Gloucester Crescent, in north west London. Nina's responsibilities included: taking care of ten-year-old Sam, who had Riley-Day Syndrome (a condition which affects the nervous system) and his younger brother, nine-year-old Will; some of the cooking (the results of which were of varying success); and some of the housework (of which Nina managed to avoid almost entirely, resulting in Mary-Kay having to employ a 'proper' cleaner). This amusing and entertaining book is comprised of a collection of the letters Nina sent to her sister, Vic, about her life at Gloucester Crescent, where Mary-Kay's neighbours included: Alan Bennett, who regularly popped in for supper, sometimes bringing his own contributions; biographer Claire Tomalin and her partner, novelist and playwright, Michael Frayn; Jonathan Miller, the theatre and opera director (who Nina, on hearing people saying "Have you heard Jonathan's 'Rigoletto'?" mistakenly thought he must be an opera singer); and novelist Deborah Moggach, who lived across the street and who Nina was able to see tapping away writing her novels. When Nina arrived in London fresh from the Leicestershire countryside, she hadn't even heard of most of these people and certainly knew nothing about literary London. But she did get on well with the inhabitants of number 55 and she soon became practically a member of the family - when Nina stopped nannying the boys and moved out when she began studying for an English degree at Thames Polytechnic, she was a constant visitor to number 55 and, after a time, moved back in with Mary-Kay and the boys. Read more ›
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, uplifting, achingly hilarious 19 Nov 2013
I loved this book. A good friend recommended it to me. I knew very little about it, but I trusted my friend's good taste. Warm, funny, uplifting, refreshing - Love, Nina was the book I savoured on returning home every day. Nina Stibbe's acute but uncomplicated views and observations of the extraordinary world in which she inhabits are life-affirming. So difficult to capture the humour, the delicious slices of family life and the nostalgic ache for the 1980s, a decade seemingly bereft of character, but so much part of this memoir. I hope Nina writes more. Her peculiar style of comedic timing and deadpan delivery is distinctive, and her voice rings loudly throughout the book. A true coming-of-age comedy. Brilliant. Now I'm going to ask for another recommendaton from my friend...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved every page! 1 Dec 2013
Published by Viking (Penguin) on 7 November 2013; Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe is one of those books that you find yourself quoting from constantly. So many times over the past few days I've made anyone who was close by stop what they were doing so that I could read out yet another snippet of conversation taken from Nina Stibbe's wonderfully funny, witty and wise diaries.

Nina Stibbe moved from Leicestershire to London, she was twenty years old, it was 1982. Nina had no experience of nannying, she had no experience of London. She didn't know much about the world of literature, she wasn't impressed by famous people - especially those who she'd never heard of. Nina found herself nannying in the household of Mary Kay Wilmers (or MK as the reader comes to know her as). MK founded the London Review of Books and was mother of two young sons Sam and Will (S&W).

Alan Bennet lived across the road. Yes, that Alan Bennet - he'd pop across the street for tea, clutching a can of lager and give his opinion on anything that may have happened, or be about to happen during that day.

Nina was never star-struck. She relates the day-to-day goings on in this somewhat eccentric family with a warmth and a very dry wit in letters home to her sister Victoria. Everyday conversations are related word for word and sometimes a little out of context, these conversations should probably sound mundane and a little boring, but Nina Stibbe surrounds the dialogue with descriptions of the speakers that are so vivid that the images bounce around the reader's head.

As readers, we should be grateful that Stibbe's sister Victoria kept all of the letters as without the originals, this book could not have been produced, and that would be so very very sad.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I was waiting for something to actually happen!
Published 2 days ago by Kathryn
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Readable and amusing but I found it a bit pointless. There isn't enough story to care about the main people in her letters. Read more
Published 2 days ago by green71
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and warm - and an illuminating coda
This book is laugh out loud funny with astringent undercurrents that are hinted but not laboured.

After reading this book I'd strongly recommend reading the Penguin... Read more
Published 2 days ago by M
1.0 out of 5 stars Love, Nina...I wanted to..
I struggled to get through this book, but persevered partly to see if there was a shred of evidence to underpin the gushing reviews. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Carole-anne Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars ... the strength of newspaper reviews but expected not to like it. I...
I bought this on the strength of newspaper reviews but expected not to like it. I was quite wrong - it is very funny and moving - please give it a try
Published 7 days ago by Gerald H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Just lovely
Warm and amusing (actually laugh-out-loud funny in places), this is a series of letters from Nina to her sister after she's moved to the big London as an au pair in the 1980's. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Wee Charlie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very enjoyable read.
Published 11 days ago by VickMK
1.0 out of 5 stars trivial
Tries to be clever and isn't. The devices of using a daily letter and lots of abbreviations are irritating. .
Published 11 days ago by Janet
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of fun
Funny, well written easy read.
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy amusing read.
Very amusing easy read. I did wonder whether it had been written contemporaneously in some parts- some AB references just seemed too casual and trite for belief. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Mrs W
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