'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.
Nina Stibbe was born in Leicester. She is the author of two works of non-fiction – Love, Nina and An Almost Perfect Christmas – and two novels Man at the Helm and Paradise Lodge, both of which were shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Love, Nina won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2014 National Book Awards and in 2016 was adapted by Nick Hornby into a BBC series. She lives in Cornwall.
Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache and is currently writing a book about books. She speaks and writes regularly on life, death, love, literature, literacy and mental health, and is often to be found doing bookish events at festivals, in shops and libraries, and in prisons. In previous lives Cathy worked for The Bookseller, The Reading Agency, Quick Reads, Waterstones and The Bell & Crown Inn.