Monday, 1 August 2016

Nina is NOT ok by Shappi Khorsandi - raw and shocking

My Review

Oh My Goodness! This is one very powerful and thought provoking book which had me gripped by the throat all the way through. It left me reeling.

I find it difficult to believe this is a work of fiction and feel the author must have some personal experiences to draw on which made this no holds barred story of teenage alcoholism so damn realistic.

It hits hard, way below the belt and is shocking, brutal and very sad. It paints a very realistic story of what it’s like to be a teenage girl in thrall to drink, using it as a prop, knowing time after time the lure of getting drunk is going to suck you in and spit you out vomiting and shame filled.

Nina is a 17 year old student, her late Dad was an alcoholic whose death was drink related. She has some good friends, a loving Mum and an adorable little sister Katie whom she loves to bits, she gets good grades at college and she likes to party. But when she parties, boy does she let rip, when the drinks in the wit’s out so they say and she gets into some truly awful situations because she’s just far too blotto to be sensible.

The first true love of her life has recently dumped her and she’s in bits. But its ok ‘cause she can go out and get drunk and have a good time and forget all about Jamie. Trouble is she forgets all about common sense, safe sex and what’s appropriate and what’s not and she ends up blind drunk getting thrown out of a nightclub for giving a total stranger a blow job in public. A few hours late she finds herself half-conscious in the back of a taxi, her knickers in her hand, vomit all over herself and spunk in her hair. She has practically no recollection of what happened after leaving the club. The next day overwhelmed by shame and remorse she swears she’ll never drink again ….. but of course she does!

There are some graphic sex scenes, lots of swearing and its down and dirty and shocking and I think it should be essential reading for any young person who’s ever drunk so much they can’t remember the night before, or who is likely to.

That’s probably more than you’d think! I’m a 50 something woman who, horrifyingly, can relate far too closely to some of the awful things that take place in this book and I could relate to Nina so well I felt 17 again reading it, though not always in a good way. It took me right back to my teenage years when alcohol was my prop, and I felt every bit of shame and embarrassment that Nina felt, in fact it took me back to a very dark place I thought was far behind me and brought some deeply buried memories to the fore.

Believe me you never forget stuff like this and you don’t want to carry it around with you all your life you really don’t, This is a trip down memory lane it would be far better to never have to take. So please don’t let yourself get in this situation. I was crying when I read parts of this book and I’m saying please Nina, please don’t. But she did, I knew she would, she’s an alcoholic just like her Dad and really she just can’t say no.

If you’re in your teens or 20s and like a drink, read this book. If it helps save one single young person from getting in a similar situation it will be great, if it doesn’t stop them perhaps it will give a few good pointers as to how they can break this terrible cycle of self destruction. Oh and it’s a blindngly brilliant read too. There are some laugh out loud funny bits, even in the midst of all the drama and vomit spattered sex scenes and the characters are all so wonderfully real.

My thanks go to the publishers Random House (Ebury Publishing) for my free copy in exchange for a review via Netgalley.

The Blurb
Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.

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. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…

A dark and sometimes shocking - coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians. NINA IS NOT O.K. will appeal to fans of Caitlin Moran and Louise O'Neill.

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