The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Published February 14, 2020
- Title The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
- Author Abbi Waxman
- Year 2019
- Genres Contemporary, Romance
Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own... shell. Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, an excellent trivia team and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. So when the father she never knew existed dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. And if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny and interested in getting to know her... It's time for Nina to turn her own fresh page, and find out if real life can ever live up to fiction...
This book is a quirky little thing, but totally enjoyable. It took a little while to grow on me because initially, whilst I was absolutely seeing a lot of myself in the lovely Nina, I couldn’t quite see what was happening. But then I was halfway through and realised I was invested in a lot of things: the new ready-made family, the relationship with the quizzer, and the fate of the bookshop. Plus all conversations with the cat, Phil.
It’s a gentle read, sweeps you in with honesty about Nina’s oddities and mental health struggles, without making a big deal out of any of it. She’s still a completely functioning human being, making and breaking relationships, and for a little while at least, we are there for the ride.
Characters are brilliantly described, even though there’s quite a cast by the end, but thankfully it comes to a happy ending that is somehow totally obvious and yet not all that predictable.
Leaving her apartment every morning was the turning over of a giant hourglass, the mental energy she’d stored up overnight eroding grain by grain. She refuel during the day by grabbing moments of solitude and sometimes felt her life was a long-distance swim between islands of silence. She enjoyed people - she really did - she just needed to take them in homeopathic doses; a little of the poison was the cure.
Even in the most organised life there is room for whimsy. It just needs scheduling. As her heroine Monica Geller would say, Rules help control the fun.
Nina laughed. “I’ve met lots of authors at the bookstore, and I’ve never met one who cares which book of theirs you read first. They’re just glad you read one.”
Rating: 4 / 5