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161 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dear Nina . . .
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")...
Published 3 months ago by Roger Risborough

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
I can see why people find it funny, really I can, but it just didn't do it for me. I only got half way through before I thought enough is enough of reading tiresome anecdotes from someone I don't really care about talking about kids and people I don't really care about in that sickly and purposefully understated 'aren't we/our lives/the kids/our friends...
Published 24 days ago by J. McDonnell


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved every page!, 1 Dec 2013
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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. What is also quite sad is that a book like this will probably never be produced that features life after the late 1990s. How many twenty year olds write letters these days? Texts and emails will never replace the joy of receiving and opening a letter, and could never be put together like this. The inside cover of Love, Nina features some of the original drawings that Nina illustrated her letters with, and it was because of these drawings that her sister kept the letters. There are only a few of them, but take a look, they are simple, but perfect.

Love, Nina is one of those books that I know I will read again, and that happens so rarely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the year, 26 Nov 2013
This review is from: Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life (Kindle Edition)
Brilliantly catches both the small moments and the spirit of the times. Laugh on the bus and cover your mouth funny.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, funny, happy book to cheer anyone up!, 8 Nov 2013
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Nina Stibbe's volume of letters - written to her sister whilst working as a nanny amongst the London intelligentsia of the early 1980s - is a joy to read. Her twentysomething self has a wonderful turn of phrase, and an eye for comic detail that is truly delightful. As she looks after the two precocious sons of the editor of the London Review of Books, we see the N1 set through the eyes of a provincial girl, who believes that Alan Bennett once starred in Coronation Street and Jonathan Miller is an opera singer. Every page has you smiling or laughing, often both. I would hope someone will buy the film rights, as this would make such a lovely piece of gentle British cinema. Much, much recommended!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived Up To All The Blurb, 12 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life (Kindle Edition)
One of those books that has you googling the people involved , just to see them & find out how they are getting on now . AB came over just as I expected , despite his protestations , a treasure . Would love to have sat round that table for a natter . Read it .
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet and gently funny book, 9 Aug 2014
A sweet and gently funny book. Especially interesting if you, a) lived in Gloucester Crescent at the time, b) therefore can actually imagine being in the house, c) lived in Regents Park Terrace or adjoining Oval Road which were all curiously connected yet failed to become the complete double crescent oval shape due to the railway being built right through it. This book will interest all the media types who lived there in the 1960s - 1980s and the millionaires who live there now. I literally laughed out loud in places. It was actually more interesting there than this book lets on, there could be many more amusing and surprising stories added, and as for that hairdresser who did the lop sided beret cuts...it's something you don't ever forget.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't really get it, 13 Aug 2014
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This book has great promise. The 1980s was a flamboyant decade in London and this is the memoire of a young woman who has moved to the city to be a nanny for a family immersed in the literary world. There is also a cast list (!!) at the beginning which ramps up the anticipation - Willie Carson? Russell Harty? Delia Smith? 80s icons all of them.
The book is presented as letters written back to the authors sister, Vic, who is in Leicester. The letters are full of nostalgia of the period which will bring a smile to anyone who remembers the 80s.
Her writing is occasionally amusing but not at a level for this book to be described as "funny". The mixture of narrative and dialogue effectively break up the letters which could have become monotonous much earlier (they do eventually though!)
Nina wants to be everyone's friend which is very trying and makes her difficult to engage with - at times it even makes the reading quite uncomfortable.
As we only ever see one side of the conversation in letters (I guess because Nina didn't keep her sisters letters?) the subjects covered appear to jump about in a disjointed way - appearing at random although presumably in response to a letter from the authors sister.
There is no way of telling how much editing has been done prior to publishing but it is lovely to see that the innocent spark of the author has been maintained and it's really interesting how she matures over the years that she is in London - would have been useful to have more of the letters dated though as the time span could have been used more usefully.
Another small point is that Deborah Moggach has a quote on the front of the book - she lived in the area at the time and is even mentioned a couple of times......
It's an odd feeling reading this book as I felt I should have warned to the author and there are a lot of positives but I just didn't connect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia for a time before email, 30 July 2014
By 
N. Mcclure "Nicky" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life (Kindle Edition)
Dry, funny and touching. Made me dig out all my old letters from uni. Also made me scour the internet for what happened to Nina and co after the book finished as I didn't want it to end.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 1 Jan 2014
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I have been reading this book slowly because I don't want it to end. It is fascinating and funny. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book, 10 Dec 2013
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Fresh, genuine, original, honest and quirky. Names are dropped easily and not pretentiously. The writer is calmly aware of her own shortcomings and a wonderful picture of the characters emerges, particularly of Mary Kay.
Nina captures and records the conversations succinctly and brilliantly. Very very funny.
Inspirational. Made me want to take out my fountain pen and start writing letters again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sorry couldn't finish it, 27 April 2014
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This review is from: Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life (Kindle Edition)
Wanted to like it. Occasionally I did. Sometimes the humour came through but it just couldn't hold my attention and eventually I gave up
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