“I adored this book, and I could quote from it forever. It’s real, odd, life-affirming, sharp, loving…and I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so frequently while reading.”



Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe returns to the loveable and quirky character of Lizzie Vogel who previously appeared aged nine in Man at the Helm and aged 15 in Paradise Lodge.

Although Stibbe’s latest book returns to the Vogel family that readers have met twice before, you do not actually need to have read the other two books to understand and follow the plot of Reasons to be Cheerful, however, after reading it, you will probably want to start again at the beginning of Lizzie’s creation.

In the latest instalment of Lizzie’s life, she is now 18-years-old, has got her first proper job as a dental assistant, a flat above work and she is attempting to deal with her racist, misogynistic boss who is obsessed with joining the Freemasons, the loneliness of moving away from home and a whole heap of other adult problems which create scenarios readers can all relate to in some way.

Somehow, Nina Stibbe’s brilliant writing manages to make the trials and tribulations of adulthood and the often-dull subject of dentistry into a funny, witty and uplifting coming-of-age story that audiences can identify with. Plus, if you grew up around the same time as Lizzie, you will also get the added bonus of 80s nostalgia.


Reviewed by:

Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog

Added 11th May 2019

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Catherine Muxworthy