Reviews for Love, Nina : A Nanny Writes Home
Booklist Reviews 2014 April #1
*Starred Review* With a who's who at the beginning that ranges from film director Stephen Frears to Maxwell, the author's "ex-pony," you might guess this is not your typical memoir. Not only that, but it comprises the tuneful, descriptive letters Nina wrote in the 1980s, while she tried her hand at nannying in London, to her sister, Vic, who stayed basically at home, near Leicestershire, England. The nannied children were young Sam and Will Frears--their arty, daffy children's conversations fill the pages--living with their sharp, blunt mother, Mary-Kay Wilmers, deputy editor of the London Review of Books. Nina herself, then just 20 and new to the task of being a nanny, was a lover of London and quite the observer, documenting for her sister back home the who, the when, and her full-blown, clever, open-eyed take on the what of life at the Wilmers-Frears. Stibbe notes that nannying is "not like a job really, just like living in someone else's life," but what a funny, artist-filled life she lived, and how well she watched and participated. This is an offbeat paean to families, real and cobbled-together, to sisters and siblings, and to communicating with love. It's also a rare and wholly delectable epistolary slice of life. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
This epistolary memoir is a compilation of letters that 20-year-old Nina Stibbe wrote home to her sister while working as a nanny for the two sons of Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor of the London Review of Books. The letters contain Nina's misadventures as a nanny rubbing elbows with the northwest London literary set (the playwright Alan Bennett is a frequent dinner guest) over mediocre attempts at bolognese. Nina is clumsy and self-deprecating but generously shares tidbits of conversation between the two boys, Sam and Will Frears. VERDICT This eccentric collection of letters will appeal to fans of British quirk; the dialogue is so snappy it's almost incredible. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.