Review: Nina is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi

Nina is Not OK final jacketNina 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…

What I Thought:
Approaching Nina is Not OK, I didn’t really know what to expect – ok I read the blurb and have seen Shappi Khorsandi doing stand up – but would this be a jokey sort of book, or a not? Well, it is and it isn’t – there is certainly humour in it, but it is mostly dark and, in Nina’s attempt to make light of her drinking and the activities that come from it, it is in places quite tragic.

On the whole, I’ve come away from it thinking that this is a pretty important book, especially with the numerous and wide-ranging debates over binge drinking culture and the safety of young women when they have had a few more drinks than they had perhaps intended. This book addresses the issues of alcoholism, victim blaming, slut shaming and much more in a powerful and accessible way while giving us a main character that you can actually give a damn about.

I love Nina, despite her battles with her mum (as the mum now, I dread those days to come!), she has gone through such a difficult time with her volatile, alcoholic father and when she finally begins to take control of her life and what has happened to her, she shows what a strong determined young woman she is; her transformation from the girl we first meet being thrown out of a nightclub is remarkable (damp eye rating of 4 tears!).

Since reading the book, I have been recommending it whenever I can – as I said, I think it’s an important book, excellently written and tackling difficult topics with a really deft touch – a fantastic debut novel.

I was given a copy of the book by the publisher (Ebury Press), through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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