Teenager Lizzie Vogel has a new job as a dental assistant. This is not as glamorous as it sounds. At least it means mostly getting away from her alcoholic, nymphomaniacal, novel-writing mother. But, if Lizzie thinks being independent means sex with her boyfriend (he prefers bird-watching), strict boundaries (her boss keeps using her loo) or self-respect (surely only actual athletes get fungal foot infections?) she’s still got a lot more growing up to do.
Well hello there, I hope you’re well and welcome to my first CWIP Shadow Panel book review. If you weren’t aware, I have been so lucky to have been given the opportunity, along with four other wonderful individuals to take part in the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 by being involved on their first shadow panel. I am still gobsmacked! The first book that I decided to read for review was Reasons To Be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe, one of the CWIP shortlisted reads, who is actually going to be taking part in Witty Wednesdays this evening over on the CWIP Instagram page! Talk about timing! Reasons To Be Cheerful was published by Penguin UK on the 2nd of January this year. You can grab yourself a copy here.
Praise for Reasons To Be Cheerful
‘This made me laugh and broke my heart . . . Stibbe is one of the all time greats’ Daisy Buchanan
‘Stibbe is one of the great comic writers of our time’ Irish Times
‘Pitch perfect vintage comedy’ Guardian
‘Another great from Nina Stibbe’ Kathy Burke
‘Very few writers can find the delicate balance between heartbreak and hilarity like Nina Stibbe’ Red Magazine
Those are just a few examples of the praise that Nina’s third novel has received, isn’t that superb? From the first chapter, we meet Lizzie, an eighteen year old in 1979 who is pushed out of the nest by her narcotic who sees this as the perfect start to Lizzie’s freedom and how she can get her youngest in to one of the best nurseries in London. Unfortunately, Lizzie has gone from living with a busy body of a mother, to a eccentric pain of a boss – I love childish humour at times, and the boss at the dentist made me giggle on more that one occasion when it came to his wierd quite childlike behavious. Nina has created a coming of age comic read that many of us would be able to identify with, from initially moving in to our first homes, to first relationships, along with it a kaleidoscope of emotions that we begin to be more aware of during adulthood. Although, for me, Reasons To Be Cheerful was at times a slow comic burner which included strong smile worthy parts but then other parts focused on the character development of Lizzie’s personal growth which I felt was important for the storyline. The diversity of characters gave the reader more of an idea of the times, with stereotypical problematic impressions and family dynamics. Reasons To Be Cheerful is a smile provoking coming – of – age read that has the ability to brighten any day!
Have you read Reasons To Be Cheerful yet? Please share your thoughts and / or reviews, i’d love to see them! Are you rooting for this book to be crowned as the CWIP prize winner? Make sure to tune in to Witty Wednesdays tonight at 7pm when Nina will be interviewed! I’ll see you there!
Until next time,