Being a nanny is great. Not like a job really, just like living in someone else's life. Today before breakfast Sam had to empty the dishwasher and Will had to feed the cat. Sam: I hate emptying the dishwasher. MK: We all do, that's why we take turns. Will: I hate the cat. MK: We all do, that's why we take turns. 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.
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 naive 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 I would urge anyone who's feeling sad to read Love, Nina. Nina already feels like my best friend. It's DELIGHTFUL -- Marian Keyes 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 I can't remember a book since Adrian Mole that so brilliantly, drily nailed day-to-day life in BRILLIANT, faux-naive prose -- Caitlin Moran Amazingly funny Times Magazine Observant, funny, terse, at times a bit rude ... These letters are winning from the start New York Times [Stibbe] has a flair for deadpan understatement reminiscent of Helen Fielding's. You'll find yourself laughing out loud but also touched by the book's depiction of family as it should be People Magazine If your safe place is an English person writing a funny letter (it's mine) then read Love, Nina -- Lena Dunham
Nina Stibbe was born in Leicester. She is the author of Love, Nina, which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year Award and won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2014 National Book Awards, and the massively acclaimed novel Man at the Helm, which was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. She lives in Cornwall with her partner and two children.