‘When people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn’t shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all’
So begins a young woman’s journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the Freemasons.
Soon Lizzie is heading reluctantly, if at top speed, into the murky depths of adult life: where her driving instructor becomes her best friend; her first boyfriend prefers birdwatching to sex and where independence for a teenage girl might just be another word for loneliness.
In Reasons to Be Cheerful Nina Stibbe shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the vital details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive.
Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #ReasonsToBeCheerful today and it’s an actual tour today because I’m posting this from gorgeous Northumberland this morning on the Easter break. It’s wonderful to be curled up with a great book after a windy walk. The wood burning stove is lit and the rugby is scheduled.
I’m feeling in seventh heaven with an abundance of #ReasonsToBeCheerful myself. Thank you so much to Ellie Hudson from Penguin Books for inviting me on the tour, it has been a great way to kick off my holidays!
I absolutely loved this book. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you into its community and name you feel part of Lizzie’s crazy and memorable word as she tries to navigate adult life and all the curveballs that it throws her.
Lizzie was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When I was reading about her strike for independence and the many areas to navigate as she tries to throw herself into adult life, it’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will have had that feeling when you think you’re a lot more grown-up than you actually are and end up in situations that you could never have anticipated. The job working for a dentist sounds very different on paper than the reality and you will be creasing up, hearing about some of the situations she finds herself caught up in.
Lizzie’s blossoming friendship with her driving instructor and other assorted oddities is one of the best things about this book. You will have had lots of these moments yourself where you’ve ended up finding things in common with people you’d never have imagined and this coming -of -age tale does it so much better than most. I loved Nina’s autobiographical writing and there is much here that will resonate here in her fiction if you are a fan of Love, Nina
Even if you haven’t encountered her other fictional work, Man at the Helm and Paradise Lodge there is much to love here and since this is the period that I grew up in myself, I really loved the nostalgia I found in its pages. There were loads of moments in Lizzie’s stumbling towards adulthood that I really connected with – her odd reflections and off-the-cuff comments are totally unique and I found her absolutely hilarious. Her romance with Andy is sweet, engaging and laugh-out-loud funny and there are plenty of awkward and memorable moments as they try and engage in a grown-up relationship despite their shyness and uncertainties.
Even though this is the third in a trilogy, it can totally be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone too. Nina is one of my favourite writers of social comedy and I think that just like Adrian Mole absolutely ‘got it’ in terms of capturing the teenage male voice – Lizzie is an absolutely pitch-perfect rendition of a girl coming of age with all its associated uncertainties and dramas.
Nina Stibbe wrote this book from the heart, and it shows. It presents a picture of a unique, hilarious and memorable young woman and captures a moment in time perfectly in 1980s adolescence. I would absolutely love to see this fabulous trilogy on our screens in the future. When you read the ‘roll of honour’ below, you’ll see that there are so many fans of her writing that are far more eminent than myself – so you don’t just have to take MY word for it…
Buy yourself a copy here and enjoy meeting Lizzie and her collection of weird and wonderful characters for yourself.
My friends, you will UTTERLY ADORE Nina Stibbe’s latest novel Reasons To Be Cheerful . . .It is SO SO funny, charming, odd-in-the-best-way and gorgeously uplifting! A delight from start to finish(Marian Keyes)
I read all of Reasons To Be Cheerful last night in one GLORIOUS gulp and it’s SUCH a joy – Nina Stibbe turns out more perfect, sharp, unique sentences than anyone else in the game. It just CARTWHEELS (Caitlin Moran)
Reasons To Be Cheerful is just the read you need right now, seamlessly weaving together the big themes of life with charm and warmth (Stylist)
The true heir to Sue Townsend (Caitlin Moran)
Very few writers can find the delicate balance between heartbreak and hilarity like Nina Stibbe (Red Magazine)
This made me laugh and broke my heart, it’s a gorgeous, profound, tender book about growing up and discovering that other humans are charming, obnoxious, enlightening and odd. I think Stibbe is one of the all-time greats (Daisy Buchanan)
Writer On The Shelf
Reasons to be Cheerful is Nina Stibbe’s latest book. She is also the author of award-winning Love, Nina – which was adapted for TV by the BBC – and the much-acclaimed Man at the Helm, Paradise Lodge, and An Almost Perfect Christmas. Born in Leicester, she now lives in Cornwall.