Book Review: Reasons To Be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

Some books just cheer you up. And Reasons To Be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe does exactly what it says on the tin. Or bright orange book cover. Goes particularly well with my china plates don't you think?

Teenager Lizzie Vogel has a new job as a dental assistant. This is not a glamorous job. But it does mean she gets away from her alcoholic, novel-writing mother. But, if Lizzie thinks being independent means sex with her boyfriend (he prefers bird-watching), strict boundaries (her boss keeps using her loo) or self-respect (surely only actual athletes get fungal foot infections?) she's still got a lot more growing up to do.

The story isn't particularly snappy, it's more a leisurely stroll through the park on a Sunday following one young girl, simply getting on with her life. Discovering what it's like to finally grow up. It's a bit fortuitous that I read this just after Leonard & Hungry Paul because I can see many similarities between the two books.

Lizzie is a really likable character, well-drawn and the type of girl you'd like to get to know a little better. By that I mean she's a little bit closed off and there's always something a little sad bubbling under the surface. She has the ability to just put a face on things. I did enjoy some laugh out loud moments, though they probably weren't as frequent as I'd like for a book that's won some prestigious comedy awards along its way. It felt a little sad in places, particularly towards the end. But I am a bit of a sucker for sad comedy. One minute you're laughing, one minute you're crying. Sounds good to me.