Reasons To Be Cheerful By Nina Stibbe Review (Blog Tour) @Viking @PenguinRandomHouse

As you lay there helpless, mouth agape, you can’t avert your eyes from the tray of glistening sharp utensils waiting to be summoned by the click of a latex-gloved hand. The air is filled with the crackle of the radio as a familiar tune interrupts the scene. You come to despise this song as the first bolt of pain is injected into your gum. Now whenever you hear Bright Eyes By Art Garfunkel you will tense a little and think of the dentists’. Happy memories…

Today dear readers I am the last stop for the blog tour of Reasons To Be Cheerful (Published 28 March 2019 UKBy Nina Stibbe. A big thank you to the publishers Viking and Penguin Random House for my copy to review, always appreciated. Let’s begin shall we.


About The Author 


Reasons to be Cheerful is Nina Stibbe’s latest book. She is also the author of award-winning Love, Nina – which was adapted for TV by the BBC – and the much-acclaimed Man at the Helm, Paradise Lodge, and An Almost Perfect Christmas. Born in Leicester, she now lives in Cornwall.

Reasons To Be Cheerful By Nina Stibbe


‘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.

My Review

Set against the 1980’s backdrop of Leicester, the reader follows 18-year-old Lizzie Vogel as she works for JP Wintergreen, a vile and racist dentist who is consumed by his desire to join the Freemasons. Much to his dismay he is blackballed, constantly. The reader is fully submerged into this challenging period with talks about nuclear bunkers and how owning a washing machine with a tumble dryer is considered a luxury. It’s a delectable read as you are transported back to a time without smart phones and the internet. A simple world where you connected with people face to face and didn’t need a million photos to remember an event. You just lived in the moment and embraced it. This book has reminded me how we as human beings have forgotten what truthfully makes us happy in life. Family, friends, laughter and love. It was a charming experience to escape back to this time before social media polluted the planet. 

“…the day went by in a stream of sweet drinks and snacks, smoke rings, impressions of Barbra Streisand and Prince Charles, and oven-glove demonstrations.”

I found Lizzie’s narrative amusing and enlightening. She keeps a positive yet realistic view and frequently pounders about life as if it were featuring in a column for Woman’s Own. It’s humorous to read and quite infectious, as soon after I finished reading I found myself wondering about insignificant things like, “Do hair masks actually make a difference, or is it just your average conditioner sealed in luxury packaging?” It’s quaint, and I really enjoyed letting my mind wander, seeing things I haven’t seen before or bothered to think about. *starts humming Bright Eyes* 

I admire Stibbes natural talent for announcing characters throughout the book. She has insightful views that establish Lizzie’s first impressions and how attentive to detail her character is. She notices the little things that others often disregard. It’s intriguing to dive into as it builds upon the images of these characters in your mind, you can see them in the flesh and smell the strange odours that surround them. Majestic writing at it’s finest. 

He had surprisingly bad teeth (for a dentist), smelled strongly of vinegar and tobacco smoke, and the European way of arranging his trousers (hoist high, with everything all down one leg), none of which I held against him. He picked up a teacup and drank the contents down in two gulps.

There is nothing I enjoy more than to bask in detailed writing in a story that engages me. When done well, efficiently and creatively, it really feeds your imagination, makes you lust for more and Stibbe does exactly this. The reader is wined and dined on a banquet for royalty.

Suddenly, in the distance, a door swung open and there, all in white – half-surgeon, half saint – was the waitress holding a roll in a pair of silver tongs, as carefully as if it were one of my vital organs. 

I was in utter shock towards the end, I won’t give away any spoilers but WOW I did not expect that. Stibbe knows how to do a 180 on the reader, completely throwing everything upside down. It definitely takes you by surprise and reminds you how life has this annoying habit of just happening. It’s harsh, real and soul-destroying. 


I give Reasons To be Cheerful By Nina Stibbe a Five out of Five paw rating.


An opulent read, I yearned for more! I highly recommend this book to everyone. It will make you feel all the emotions.  And also shine a dazzling light on just how important it is to look after your teeth. Don’t forget to floss! 


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Nina Stibbe









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About Bunny's Pause

Hello, I'm a Author/Poet/Reviewer/Bookworm/Gamer/Music Lover/Wife and Mother! I review and recommend books as I LOVE to read! I am always on the lookout for new and upcoming books to expand my ever-growing library. If you have something you wish me to read and review, please contact me. I would be delighted to hear from you. Hop hop wiggle wiggle
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