Book Review: ‘Nina is Not OK’ by Shappi Khorsandi.

I received this ebook for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is no way affects my opinion of the book. Quotes in the following review may differ slightly from the final published version of the book.

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‘Dear sir or madam,

I’m writing to complain about my treatment by your staff on Saturday night.

At approximately 11.20pm, I gave a young man I’d just met a blowjob by the downstairs bar. One of your bouncers (I’m afraid I cannot describe him, my vision was blurred) dragged me out and threw me onto the street without giving me a chance to call my mum, tell my friends or finish the blowjob.

I feel this act was discriminatory as the bloke I was noshing off (I’m afraid I did not catch his name) was NOT asked to leave.’

I never much liked Shappi Khorsandi when she used to be on Mock the Week, but I had a good feeling about her book. Stand-ups tend to be good writers by default, and I’m so glad I decided to read Nina is Not OK. It might even be a new favourite.

The beginning was hilarious and I laughed out loud several times (which I don’t often do while reading). At first it felt like the sort of funny story that would be shared between friends after a night out (if your friends are dirty bitches like mine) and although it quickly spiralled into something that was clearly not normal behaviour, it still felt extremely relatable. I loved Nina’s world view and the way she felt so real.

Khorsandi’s mix of humour and emotion works so well. What at first sight seems to be a naughtier Bridget Jones’ Diary eventually becomes a very serious commentary on rape culture and victim-shaming. This is not a throwaway book. It’s so much more than it appears.

I did have a couple of issues: I would have liked to have see firsthand what was going on with Zoe; Alex was clearly assaulting her too, in a different way, so I would’ve liked to see her and Nina make their peace with each other.

This is my second issue:

‘Where I come from, if you invite a first out on a date, she’s your guest for the duration of the day.’

I grin. Jamie once made me go halves with him on my birthday.

Maybe the point here is that it’s her birthday so he should have treated her to dinner anyway, but to me it just sounds like she expects guys to pay for the girl on dates. I’ve always found this a very backwards view – pay for your own meal, you leech.

It felt like a very light read and although I was really enjoying it, I didn’t think it was going to be the kind of book that stayed with me after. However, that was before we found out what had happened to Nina.

The book appears to be about Nina’s alcoholism, but slowly we discover exactly what happened on the Saturday night she talks about above, and exactly how serious it was. Khorsandi’s dark humour and gritty realism, mixed with light-heartedness and comical characters, made this book truly memorable. I’m so, so glad I read it.

My Rating: 5/5

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘Nina is Not OK’ by Shappi Khorsandi.

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