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Reasons to Be Cheerful

(Lizzie Vogel #3)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  2,110 ratings  ·  283 reviews
'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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 28th 2019 by Viking
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,110 ratings  ·  283 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed on

1980s Leicester and Eighteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel has been offered a job as a dental nurse. The job comes with her own little flat above the dental practice and she will be working alongside Dentist JP Wintergreen and his now part-time girlfriend and dental nurse Tammy.

Lizzie is anxious but happy to be moving away from her alcoholic, writer mother, though she has taken to using Lizzie’s flat to write. Lizzie also has her first boyfriend who doesn’t seem
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book reviews on

Reasons To Be Cheerful is a brilliant read. It features likable, hilarious characters and a story that I (and many other people) can really relate to – growing up not knowing exactly what you’re going to do with your life, or where you fit into a ‘bigger picture’, and finding your way as you go.

The novel spins a fantastic tale about Lizzie, who grew up in a village and makes that leap to a ‘bigger city’, with an – admittedly slightly random – career with extre
Joanna Park
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a sweet, heartwarming and quirky read that manages to be utterly hilarious! The characters in this book are very well drawn and developed through the book. I loved reading about the odd bunch of people who make up Lizzie’s workmates and some of the antics they get up to. It was interesting to read about the different attitudes and practices of dentists back in the 80s which I hope aren’t true but wouldn’t be surprised to hear they were! This gives the book a slightly nostalgic feel to i ...more
Ritu Bhathal
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful read!

This was the first of Nina Stibbe's books that I have read and I really enjoyed it. A light-hearted read that left you feeling good.

I have to say, as the daughter of a dentist whose family lived in a large flat about the surgery, there were some scenes that really had me giggling, like JP rushing upstairs for a quick toilet visit, or nap... like my dad!

The characters were well formed, and I loved Lizzie and her quirks.

And I have also been made aware of the fact that there
Paula Bardell-Hedley
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, humour
“Extrapolating, I might research an article about all the things men don’t like women doing ... My own limited experience showed that men disliked their wives driving, eating onions and spices, having a dog, talking about sport, laughing loudly, spending money on fripperies, disagreeing with them, chatting on the phone, climbing trees, talking about dogs, mowing the lawn in flip-flops, wearing too much make-up, being too fat, being too keen, worrying and, I suspect, reading the news on TV.”
May 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was really funny in parts and a quick and lighthearted read but it just lacked in plot for me.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, perused
Stopped at page 46. Strong points are clarity of voice and command of narrative. But once again, the critics have mistaken pleasant romantic frothiness for actual comedy.

Seems semi-autobiographical, like a Patrick Melrose for chipper twentysomething housewives who think they're above the siren call of the one o' clock wine box, just aren't quite ready for the harsh realities in the Bridget Jones saga.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You don’t get many witty and funny books set in the 1970’s. I expected it to be a modern set novel, and was pleasantly surprised!

Following 18 year old Lizzie who becomes a dental assistant nurse, we follow her when she wants more with her boyfriend, learning to drive and taught by a vicar’s wife and having to wear sandals because of her athletes foot.

Lizzie grows immensely as a character through out and I so wish there would be a sequel. Nina Stibbe has a way with words and I just wanted this to
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was very confused that I did not like this as much as everyone else did. I felt the characters were definitely uniquely developed and you felt you knew them by the end but I found the book just disturbing. She works for a dentist that is racist and treats her like a second class citizen. Her mother is just odd. The "boyfriend" isn't truly a boyfriend and by the end of the book, it honestly is all kind of depressing. I made myself keep reading expecting it to turn around but it never did. About ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
I got about 25 pages in, then closed it with a snap and said sternly "Nonsense."
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This was a gift book, and at first I was afraid it was self-help advice. Thankfully not. It is a zany, tender, coming of age novel about Lizzie Vogel. Lizzie is 18 and has no job skills or plans for college. She was practically raised by wolves in rural England, her mom being too self-absorbed and man crazy to take care of children. Fortunately, Lizzie is very bright and eager to better herself. She moves to a small town, takes a job as a dental assistant (combo hygienist, learning on the job, a ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Don’t know what made me buy this book as it’s not my usual type of read but I’m pleased I did as I really liked it. Easy to read, full of fabulous characters, set in the late 70s (when the world wasn’t quite as pc as it is today) and a couple of laugh out loud lines made this a very enjoyable read. Kind of wish I’d read the other two Lizzie Vogel books first though.
TW: Detailed descriptions of dental procedures. DNF.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
A sweet, quirky and heartwarming story set in Leicester in 1980 full of hilarious moments and relatable characters. If you’re a fan of the late great Sue Townsend, give this a read!
Vicki Antipodean Bookclub
3.5 stars for this one!

If there was ever a time to read a book called Reasons to be Cheerful, now is that time. 18 year old Lizzie Vogel lands a job as a dental assistant. She takes a copy of Watership Down to the interview to appear both intellectual and empathetic. She moves out of her mother’s home and into the flat at the surgery. Her mother she describes as a “drunk, divorcee, nudist, amphetamine addict, nymphomaniac, shoplifter, would be novelist, poet, playwright.” However, she moves out
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reasons to be cheerful
A story that crept up on me until the life of our heroine Lizzie became so bizarre that I just had to keep on reading. Her mother, her family, friends and in particular her work at the dentist’s - JP Wintergreen -, became part of my fantasy life and dreams too. The discussions were absurd and yet, somehow resonated of the time.
Her mother was described as being a:
Drunk; divorcee; nudist; amphetamine addict; nymphomaniac; shop lifter; would-be novelist; poet; and playwright
Karen Coles
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My children bought me this when I was laid up with a broken foot. I had absolutely loved the previous 2 Lizzie Vogel stories - Man at the Helm, and Paradise Lodge - so couldn't wait to read it. This third book follows Lizzie as she moves away from home for the first time. Along with the humour that is as hilarious here as in the previous two stories, there is a vein of sadness running through it. I laughed and also sobbed. It's a wonderful book - funny, witty, poignant, and heartbreaking. Lizzie ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lizzie is now a dental assistant for a xenophobic dentist. The situations she finds herself in are mostly hilarious, but reality creeps in occasionally. Nina Stibbe writes humor really well.
Georgie Luton
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I have read since we have been in Covid-19 lockdown (UK)! As well as my first book of 2020 that I have read in full! I enjoyed the plot and the first person narrative was told well. The characters are relatable and develop as the story progresses. The ending came as a bit of a surprise but understandable after the way the story turned towards the end. There was the occasional slip in writing form in my opinion but I think that is the fault of the Publisher, but it was easy ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Nina Stibbe is being hailed as the true heir to Sue Townsend and I couldn't agree more. This is my first book by this author, I picked it up on a whim, and I'm very glad I did. I wasn't aware it was the 3rd in a series (I shall be reading the others!) but thankfully it can be enjoyed on it's own merit. Witty, sweet, sharply observed, touching and downright hilarious in places this book evokes the 80s brilliant. It's a joyful read filled with wit, whimsy and charm that I would highly recommend to ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started this book I hadn’t realised it was the third of a trilogy about Lizzie Vogel. It didn’t mater that I hadn’t read the other two to enjoy it, but am now tempted to read them.

This book proper had me in stitches, which is exactly what I need right now. And then in the third part an unexpected wave of emotion which showed that I’d become much more emotionally vested in the characters than I had realised.
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
An uplifting, fun read with touching moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A few bits unlikely but it’s fiction so I let it go. Very nostalgic read for someone of my age , great flashbacks !

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Andrew Collins
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nina Stibbe makes me laugh. Her ability to to turn a mundane lifestyle into an amusing tale is wondrous. Just happy to relax and laugh the whole way through - although reading it on the tube can disturb other passengers. A delight from start to finish.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loopy and entertaining story about an 18 year old girl in 80s England. Very funny, although things slowed down a bit in the end. A very crazy but mostly lovable cast of characters. I’ll never see a dentist’s office in quite the same way.
Stephanie Stennett
Lovely little novel. Thank goodness she’s not an editor at a magazine or publisher, or any of those other typical chicklit jobs. I found the dental “business” oddly intriguing.
Her family is odd without being archly bizarre.
Looking forward to reading the two preceding books about Lizzie Vogel.
Lady Drinkwell
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
An amusing little book for our troubled times. Some bits really did make me laugh out loud. I was slightly younger than the heroine in 1979 so enjoyed the period detail, although I'm not sure it would be as fully to anyone who had not lived through that time in England.
Katy Wheatley
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got an advanced proof copy of this from Netgalley in return for my review. I absolutely loved this. I love everything Stibbe has written and have been following her work (and her stuff on social media) since Love Nina. The Lizzie Vogel books, of which this is the third (start with Man at the Helm, then Paradise Lodge) are particularly pleasing because they are about the city I grew up in, left and now live in again. Stibbe is a little older than me, but many of the places she writes about in t ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some bits of this were so laugh out loud funny, others quite sad. It was refreshing to read a book that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Michele Brooker
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
An ode to the seventies. I liked this book and all it's crazy characters. Especially the very sensible eighteen year old Lizzie. All at once funny, ridiculous and tragic.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A funny light read, full of believable quirky characters. I wanted to meet Lizzie and her mum as they were so entertaining.
Reminded me of Kate Atkinson’s novels but less cram packed.
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Spoilers for Reasons to be Cheerful please? 1 3 Nov 12, 2019 01:30AM  

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