Thursday 28 August 2014

Man at the Helm Review

Man at the Helm, the debut novel from Nina Stibbe - the much-loved author of Love, Nina - is a wildly comic, brilliantly sharp-eyed novel about the horrors of being an attractive divorcee in an English village in the 1970s, and a family's fall from grace...
"My sister and I and our little brother were born (in that order) into a very good situation and apart from the odd new thing life was humdrum and comfortable until an evening in 1970 when my mother listened in to my father's phone call and ended up blowing her nose on a tea towel - a thing she'd only have done in an absolute emergency."
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 divorcee mother are packed off to a small, slightly hostile village in the English countryside. Their mother is all alone, only thirty-one 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. Worried about the bad playwriting - though more about becoming wards of court and being sent to the infamous Crescent Home for Children - Lizzie and her sister decide to contact, by letter, suitable men in the area. In order to stave off the local social worker they urgently need to find a new Man at the Helm.

Claire's Review 4 out of 5 Stars

Firstly a big thank you to Penguin for sending me a review copy in exchange of an honest review.

A Light hearted read about how a family cope through divorce in the 1970s, told through the eyes of 9yr old Lizzie, who along with her sister decided to find their mum a 'man at the helm'.

This is a great read with plenty of light humour as well as emotional moments that make you really feel for the characters. Although I enjoyed this, I did find it hard to get into to begin with and I felt it lost steam slightly near the end.

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