Nina is Not OK
By Shappi Khorsandi (Author)
And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…
A dark, funny – sometimes shocking – coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians.Tweet
I read a complimentary copy that was sent to me.
Yes this is definitely a disturbing read.
The scene and description of sexual acts in a bar almost made me stop reading there and then.
I couldn’t leave it alone as it played on my mind and I wanted to know what happened to Nina.
Strong disturbing but true to life for some teenagers.
Well worth reading if you can stick with it.
Not for the faint-hearted, this book pulls no punches. Nina is a teenager with issues - but not just the usual teenage niggles, she is spiralling out of control and is becoming an alcoholic. The reasons behind her behaviour gradually unfold in a shocking way. It's not an easy read, but is well written and difficult to put down - you find you really care about the character and want her to find a way out of the self-destructive cycle she is following. It addresses very real issues of addiction and exploitation, but there is a positive side to this book, where honesty and bravery come through in the end. A good read but prepare to be shocked and disturbed along the way.
I thought this was a brilliant book - brutal, gritty and shocking in places, but also warm, funny and uplifting in others. If you are a teenager, have been one, or have ever even met one, you should read this book!
I think this is an important book which tells it like it is for young people particularly women in the present 'slut-shaming' culture. I suffered from low self esteem, didn't most of us as teenagers, thankfully the culture was so different when I was Nina's age. I have experienced the tragedy of alcoholism in my non immediate family. I have also edged through the recent teenage years of a very precious daughter so could empathise. We both emerged pretty well unscathed but there was always the chance it could have gone the other way. I did feel as though the book is squarely aimed at the age group depicted in the story and found Nina's voice a little irritating simply because she was speaking and thinking like a teenager hence my three stars not four for personal enjoyment (but in fact this proves the author found an authentic voice). I hope young women read this book, look at their behaviour and that of the men around them, take stock and realise their own worth.
I received an advance reading copy of this title from Ebury Books via The Reading Agency, and this is my impartial review.
Nina is seventeen, going to a sixth form college and is doing her A levels. Like almost all teens, she likes a drink, but in Nina's case she likes too many drinks, and she is most definitely NOT ok, as the title of the book suggests.
Nina is not ok because she is grappling with many challenges in her life, and some very sizeable and overwhelming demons. She is trying to come to terms with the sudden, dramatic and unexpected end of her very meaningful relationship with Jamie, deal with her Mum's almost permanent preoccupation with Nina's step-Dad and half sister, the shifting sands of teen friendships, and question marks over her own sexuality on top of her unresolved issues about, and grief over the death of her father a number of years previously.
Even one or two of these issues would be a challenge for the average 17 year old, but this toxic mix is far more than Nina can cope with, and the burden she is carrying causes her to embark on some seriously damaging, dangerous and self-destructive behaviours.
This is not an easy read, and it is in places, dark, uncomfortable and sometimes shocking. It is fair to say that in some parts this is not a novel for the faint hearted or easily offended, but, it IS a novel which, despite all of this, offers a positive and hopeful message, and a great deal of humour and laughs.
The novel has a cast of well drawn characters, some of whom you love, and others whom you love to hate, but her depiction of Nina is a triumph. The reader really cares for her -you feel anxious and worried about her during the grim times, and you want to cheer for her in the more positive and hopeful moments.
Shappi Khorsandi is a well known stand-up comedienne, and she has used the observational and interpretative skills needed in the world of good comedy to write a coming of age novel which has depth, sensitivity and insight. I will definitely read any subsequent novels of hers.