Reasons to be Cheerful
by Nina Stibbe
Pub Date 28 Mar 2019
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In 1980 Lizzie Vogel is eighteen years old and is about to embark on the first major step of grown-up life as she moves from the sheltered village existence of her family home and out into the big, wide, metropolis that is Leicester. There she takes up the pioneering position of dental nurse to a dentist with bad teeth and some deeply unpleasant attitudes, whose main ambition in life is to become a freemason. In her tiny one-bedroomed flat above the dental practice, Lizzie reflects on all that she's learning in her new career: whether she'll have to hold her boss's cigarette while he smokes it, whether she wants a boyfriend and, if she does, whether it should be Andy Nicolello who delivers the patients' dentures; and if it is Andy Nicolello whether it's dangerous to allow him to become her mother's lodger.
Slowly it dawns on Lizzie that the area in which she has most to learn is life: in taking those first wobbly steps to independence, in falling in love, in navigating the ups and downs of adulthood (and her mother's new career as a novelist) and, most importantly, in staying cheerful through it all.