Not long after her parents' separation, heralded by an awkward scene involving a wet Daily Telegraph and a pan of cold eggs, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, her sister and little brother and their now-divorcée mother are packed off to a small, slightly hostile village in the English countryside. Their mother is all alone, only 31 years of age, with three young children and a Labrador. It is no wonder, when you put it like that, that she becomes a menace and a drunk. And a playwright.
"Most enjoyable book"
After succeeding in her quest to help her unconventional mother find a new "man at the helm", 15-year-old Lizzie Vogel simply wants to be a normal teenager. Just when it looks as if things have settled down, her mother goes and has another baby. On top of that, Lizzie's best friend has deserted her for the punk craze, which Lizzie finds too exhausting to commit to herself. But Lizzie soon gets more commitment than she bargained for when she takes a job as a junior nurse at Paradise Lodge, a ramshackle refuge for the elderly.
"Love the voice"
In the 1980s, Nina Stibbe wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester describing her trials and triumphs as a nanny to a London family. There’s a cat nobody likes, a visiting dog called Ted Hughes (Ted for short) and suppertime visits from a local playwright. Not to mention the two boys, their favourite football teams, and rude words, a very broad-minded mother and assorted nice chairs.
"An hilarious and joyful look into an era"
In 1982, 20-year-old Nina Stibbe moved to London to work as a nanny to two opinionated and lively young boys. In frequent letters home to her sister, Nina described her trials and triumphs: There's a cat nobody likes, suppertime visits from a famous local playwright, a mysteriously unpaid milk bill, and repeated misadventures parking the family car. Dinner table discussions cover the gamut, from the greats of English literature, to swearing in German, to sexually transmitted diseases.
This is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who finds herself working in a ramshackle old people's home in the English suburbs. It is the late 1970s and the place is in chaos - there's a much swisher old people's home nearer the supermarket with better parking which is taking all the best patients; Matron seems to be utterly without qualifications, and Lizzie has no idea what she's doing.