ALTHOUGH Shappi Khorsandi is best known for her comedy chops, her debut fiction novel Nina Is Not OK is a gritty and realistic portrayal of a 17-year-old girl’s spiral into alcoholism.
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That’s not to say it’s without laugh-out-loud moments, but it’s also an unflinching and painfully honest book that explores alcohol abuse, depression, the view of women in society and sexual consent.
Written entirely from Nina’s perspective, stand-up comic Shappi perfectly captures the minutiae of teenage life, especially in terms of the language of the characters and the depiction of the problems that young people today face.
Nina is not always a likeable character and her self-destructive tendencies mean she often makes frustrating choices.
But that just adds weight and realism to a story that feels very timely, especially in the wake of the Stanford rape case.
Nina Is Not OK is a powerful book and a cautionary tale, but it’s also a celebration of human determination in overcoming adversity.
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