Sometimes a book just takes hold of you and captures your heart, this is what happened within the first ten pages of Reasons To Be Cheerful, for me.
Set in the 1980s, Lizzie is about to embark on her biggest adventure yet – she’s got herself a new job in the city; Leicester, so she’s upping her roots and moving out of her family home and into her very own flat. Although when I say it’s her own, it turns out there are quite a few restrictions to living in the flat about the dentist practice where she now works.
From the very first chapter, I could sense what a rare talent Nina Stibbe has – her evocative writing style brings the colours, the characters and ‘everything 80s’ to life in the most incredible way.
The story is told from Lizzie’s perspective and, much like a diary, it rounds up her rather frank and easily relatable thoughts on every aspect of her life, be it her confusing relationship status, her odd colleagues or her passion to fix teeth no matter who they belong to and if she’s qualified to do it!
Stibbe has introduced some ingenious characters to bring this story alive, I was particularly fond of Mrs Woodward who brought such marvellous joy to the pages through her eccentricities; with so many more characters also bringing to light the attributes so heavily linked to British people, wonderfully captured through Lizzie’s comical observations.
Whilst the book has a light hearted and witty vibe, Stibbe also weaves in some more serious topics. Notably, the racism that dentists managed to get away with in the 80s, including the ongoing ‘pick and choose’ aspect of providing NHS treatments.
Like others, I hadn’t realised that this book is the third instalment of Lizzie Vogel’s life, and whilst I’m now desperate to read the first two, take note that you can DEFINITELY read this as a standalone, so if you want to dive right in, feel free!
I instantly ‘gelled’ with Stabbe’s writing and found it to be funny, moving and relatable, which equated to it being very readable!
If you’ve liked my recommendations so far, I feel confident you’ll love this.
In terms of comparison, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine popped into my head, as did The Cows – but FYI my comparison is only in the way the book made me feel and its ‘vibe’ (my favourite word atm, it seems!) – they are all very different books!
I am just in awe of this book – I am definitely more cheerful after reading it!
Reasons To Be Cheerful is out now in hardback and eBook formats through Viking, an imprint of Penguin.
Thank you so much Ellie over at Penguin for inviting me on this blog tour and providing me with a free copy of the book to review for this post! If you’d like to find out more about this book, why not check the other stops on the tour:
Until next time, Chloé x