Love, Nina

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family LifeLove, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Love, Nina is a collection of letters written by the author to her sister in the 1980s. Nina is a nanny for the editor of the London Review of Books and the family lives in a very literary part of North London, Alan Bennett lives across the road and regularly pops in for supper. At first I was a bit “hmmm, what’s the point of this book?” but it did grow on me. It’s quite funny in parts and the family and all their friends sound lovely. I particularly liked Alan Bennett or Bennett as they call him, as he’s always around fixing things and just sounded generally so nice. I was still quite young in the 80s (I see the 90s as being more ‘my’ decade) but it was funny reading about Nina and co discovering all these things we’re so used to now, novel things like BLT sandwiches, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs. And also things that thankfully didn’t stay around like wet look hair mousse and really thick eyeliner. And it did stir some memories.

In the latter half of the book Nina becomes a student, studying literature at Thames Poly, so you get to meet a whole new crowd of people through her letters but you still see plenty of the North London literary crowd. In the end I grew quite fond of all of them and the book went from “why am I reading this?” to “I’m quite glad I did”.

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