Man at the Helm

Nina Stibbe

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Man at the Helm

Man at the Helm From the writer of the hugely acclaimed Love Nina comes a sharply funny debut novel about a gloriously eccentric family Soon after her parents separation nine year old Lizzie Vogel moves with her si

  • Title: Man at the Helm
  • Author: Nina Stibbe
  • ISBN: 9780316286701
  • Page: 228
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the writer of the hugely acclaimed Love, Nina comes a sharply funny debut novel about a gloriously eccentric family Soon after her parents separation, nine year old Lizzie Vogel moves with her siblings and newly single mother to a tiny village in the English countryside, where the new neighbors are horrified by their unorthodox ways and fatherless household Lizzie From the writer of the hugely acclaimed Love, Nina comes a sharply funny debut novel about a gloriously eccentric family Soon after her parents separation, nine year old Lizzie Vogel moves with her siblings and newly single mother to a tiny village in the English countryside, where the new neighbors are horrified by their unorthodox ways and fatherless household Lizzie s theatrical mother only invites gossip by spending her days drinking whiskey, popping pills, and writing plays The one way to fit in, the children decide, will be to find themselves a new man at the helm The first novel from a remarkably gifted writer with a voice all her own, MAN AT THE HELM is a hilarious and occasionally heart breaking portrait of childhood in an unconventional family.

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      Posted by:Nina Stibbe
      Published :2018-08-16T22:23:23+00:00

    One thought on “Man at the Helm

    1. Maxine (Booklover Catlady) on said:

      When I read the blurb for this book I was super excited to read it, I really thought I was on to a winner with this book. I was expecting to be laughing out loud and smiling all the way through it. Instead I was groaning with boredom and wanting it all to end quickly and painlessly. Needless to say I felt this book was a real letdown.Not long after her parents' separation, heralded by an awkward scene involving a wet Daily Telegraph and a pan of cold eggs, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, her sister [...]

    2. Edel on said:

      Before I even start the review Go out and buy this book immediately !The story begins when a young wife overhears a phone conversation that she should not have heard between her husband and I assumed his lover.This will alter her entire life. The story is told by her daughter Lizzie , she is a comical little girl of 9 and is the middle child. She has an older sister and a younger brother called little Jack. All their lives are altered when they leave their dad and move with their mother to a lit [...]

    3. Karen White on said:

      This book doesn't fit into a category easily. I found it to be very funny, but I felt uneasy and anxious pretty much the whole time I was reading it. The young narrator is compelling and the whole family is believable but odd. And endearing. Somehow they either laugh or accept with a shrug every crazy thing that happens to them, so I tried to, but I just kept feeling like things could spiral out of control at any moment. The kids articulate this feeling in their worry that they'll get sent away [...]

    4. Stephanie on said:

      Oh how I really wanted to love this book with all of its quirky charm and precocious narrator. I’m not sure what happened for me with Man at the Helm, but I just had so much trouble getting invested in it. Looking at other reviews, it seems as if I’m in the minority!I think one of the biggest issues for me was the way the book was written. I felt as if Lizzie was just talking at me the whole time and that there was no depth at all to any of the character interactions or indeed the scenery an [...]

    5. TL on said:

      Received this via FirstReads in exchange for an honest review.--- I tried, Lovely concept but couldn't get into it case of "it's not the book it's me" I suppose. I got another of hers in the same volume as this so I'll read that one at some point.

    6. Laura McNeal on said:

      Let me tell you how delicious this book is: Jane-Austen delicious. The particular pleasures of a Jane Austen book are wit and dignity in the face of impending financial doom. The doom is caused by crazy relatives and simply being a dependent female in a male-centric world, and the only cure is to find a good man.Man at the Helm manages to take this antiquated, politically dicey formula and make it work in 1970's England with a nine-year-old narrator, her wise 11-year-old sister, and their sweet [...]

    7. Jennifer on said:

      If a book can make you laugh out loud one moment and cry tears of sadness the next I think it's pretty brilliant. I'm sure this won't be for everyone - it's sometimes silly and over the top but completely entertaining. I just closed the cover and I'm already missing the company of 9 year old Lizzie and her family.

    8. Julie Ma on said:

      If you liked 'Love, Nina' (and if you didn't, stop reading my review, we're clearly not going to get on), you will love this too.In 'Love, Nina', random things seemed to happen and then were never referred to again such as the incident where Nina struggled to write in her life-writing class to reproduce the incident where they led a horse upstairs. Well, if you ever wanted to find out what happened (to the horse and to the attempt to write it), you'll find out here.In 1970s Leicestershire, Lizzi [...]

    9. I read novels on said:

      The Man At The Helm is an irresistible debut novel by Nina Stibbe. It is a laugh out loud and very funny!After Lizzie's mother had listened to her husband's phone call, the following morning she took a pan of eggs and flung it over her husband. He screamed like a girl expecting it to be hot and fell of his chair.Lizzie's mother tried to break the news to her three children that mummy and daddy have decided to split up and get a divorce.Their father bought them all a house in a village fifteen mi [...]

    10. Helen on said:

      My first thoughts reading this book were critical of the flippant nature Nina Stibbe dealt with a serious situation following the fall-out of a marriage break-up. Then, after a little more pondering, I realised that the story was told through the eyes of 10 year old Lizzie who did not have the insight or understanding of the situation but merely coped with it in the best way she could. What we were getting from this author was a light hearted surface and an invitation to look beyond this into th [...]

    11. Marina Sofia on said:

      I was in equal measures horrified and amused by this story of parental neglect and children fending for themselves. It's a wonderful recreation of a period in recent history - the 1970s - yet it has a much older feel to it, an innocence perhaps better suited to the 1950s. As for the children, their wit and self-sufficiency, their curious mix of worldliness and naivety, reminded me of The Treasure Seekers or The Railway Children.There are plenty of hilarious incidents and misunderstandings (as we [...]

    12. beentsy on said:

      I really loved this book. It's a very difficult thing to have your narrator be a young person and not have them come across as all ridiculous and precocious, I'm looking at you Flavia de Luce.Lizzie, this narrator, does not come across that way. There is a reality and a feeling of being anchored in life that are so strong in her that you can't help but cheer her on. Also, there is that one scene that catches you unaware while riding the bus to work on a Friday morning and you burst into tears. B [...]

    13. K.E. Coles on said:

      Absolutely LOVED this book. It made me smile, chuckle, laugh out loud, and even cry. The writing is fab, every character brilliantly brought to life. Can't put into words how much I enjoyed reading it, but I would give it 10 out of 5 if I could. Ps I liked 'Love, Nina,' too, but this one's even better.

    14. Kirsty on said:

      I very much enjoyed Stibbe's Love, Nina when I read it last year, but ultimately found Man at the Helm rather disappointing. In it, Stibbe covers many of the same themes as in Love, Nina, and whilst it was lighthearted and funny, it lacked any real depth. I do like Stibbe's writing style, but the same ground was covered again and again, to the extent that it became almost horribly repetitive. It did not hold my interest past the 70-page mark, and never really picked up again. A shame.

    15. Stephen Goldenberg on said:

      A rather strange throwback of a novel. A cross between I Captured the Castle and Just William stories with a dash of P.G.Wodehouse thrown in. It's set in the early 1970s but could just as easily be the 1920s or 30s with its family living on inherited family business income and employing housekeepers and chauffeurs (at the start of the book). Narrated in the first person by the younger daughter, I found it funny and verbally dazzling for the first hundred pages or so but then the situations (the [...]

    16. Martin Turner on said:

      A nice quirky tale of a family who lose the man in their life resulting in the children thinking that they will have to help their mum find a new one! This is the first real novel from the pen of Nina Stibbe, although she has already had "Love, Nina" published - a series of letters written between her and her sister whilst working as a nanny in London. Ms Stibbe clearly has a way with words with a style all of her own. This novel, as with her previous work, is easy to read and explores numerous [...]

    17. Alena on said:

      I am a sucker for smart, precocious narrators, but it took me a while to click with 9 year-old Lizzie. Her world, via the author's dark humor, borders on the absurd. But once I accepted Lizzie's reality, filled with ponies, an absentee father,a drunk & drugged mother, casual observations of sex and worry over a selectively deaf little brother, I enjoyed this novel.I love it's observations of relationships. Whether it's the big vs little sister dynamic, or the brutal disappointment of love go [...]

    18. Carmel on said:

      OK, this was a really strange reading experience. I was an immediate fan of Nina Stibbe upon reading "Love, Nina" so couldn't wait to sink my teeth into her debut fictional novel. Unfortunately I found the first half really difficult to get into properly, I found myself describing the plot of Lizzie and her sister attempting to find a new man for their kooky mother rather dull, in fact I'd already decided on a 2 star rating. However, about two thirds in, I started laughing out loud, and literall [...]

    19. Laurie P on said:

      I thought this book would be edgy and funny. Instead, I found it sad and disturbing, as the tween daughters set their mother up with any random male, married or not, to replace their father as the "man at the helm", often overhearing the sexual encounters that resulted, and enduring their mother's moods when the married men scurried off home.The thing I found most disturbing was the casual cruelty of the characters, and the neglect shown the children by both parents for the majority of the book. [...]

    20. Anbolyn on said:

      This is so funny, charming, and just wonderfully entertaining. I enjoyed every page filled with the eccentric doings of the Vogel family and their menagerie. Completely endearing!

    21. Serena (Cioccolato e Libri) on said:

      In realtà 4.5."Un uomo al timone" di Nina Stibbe si presenta come un libro scritto in chiave ironica che ci farà riflettere sull'importanza di un uomo in una famiglia e su cosa succede quando manca la figura maschile.In realtà, però, c'è molto di più.Durante la lettura del libro - che mi è piaciuto moltissimo e che vi consiglio davvero - i lettori sono spunti a soffermarsi sulla depressione di una mamma, sul significato di quest'ultima e sugli effetti che può avere sui suoi figli.I prota [...]

    22. Carl on said:

      The book was interesting throughout and made me laugh out loud on many occasions. And it had a great ending, pulling everything together. Spoiler follows--great passage of everyday wisdom."I wish I could have ended this by saying that we didn't need a man at the helm. Our mother taking the helm herself and coping brilliantly all alone would have been a powerful finish. The thing is, no one can cope alone, not really alone. All those brave people who seem to do things solo actually have people in [...]

    23. Mandy on said:

      Glad I am glad to have finished this book it was a chore. Pointless story that droned on and on. Read for my new book club can't wait to hear what others thought.

    24. Kate on said:

      I liked it at the beginning, but it really bogged down and I didn't even finish it.

    25. Whitney on said:

      The humor in this book is the dryest possible measurement I can imagine. It's sandpaper across skin with salty lemon juice dripped on afterwards. It is funny yet scathing. British.A girl in a remote 1960s village observes her recently divorced mother as the mother copes with her loss, and sinks and swerves into bad places. The young narrator, age 9, along with her 11 year old sister take over the care of the household that includes their younger brother, a labrador retriever, a few ponies, and o [...]

    26. Karen Whittard on said:

      Although an ok little book. I was a little disappointed in the fact that I didn't find it as up roaringly funny as everyone has claimed it to be. But that's just my opinionSo the story is about a family who are rich. One day the mother finds out that her husband is having an affair with another man. Subsequently they get divorced the family move to the country and the two girls go on a mission to find a man for their mother. As their belief is that if their mother has another suitor then their m [...]

    27. Lesley on said:

      I loved this book! It is very lightly written and flows really well. It is written in the first person and the protagonist/narrator begins her story as a nine year old child. One of the clever things that the author manages to do is to marry the very believable voice of Lizzie as a child with an adult viewpoint, as her story is being told by her older self. Another thing that impressed me was regarding the swearing that is used throughout the novel. The lightness of touch that Nina Stibbe brings [...]

    28. Corene on said:

      After thoroughly enjoying the non-fiction, "Love, Nina," I looked forward to the author's semi-autobiographical novel, which delightedly is even better than her first book. A different perspective and writing style would make this story of a family's spiral into poverty after a divorce in 1970 a tragedy. Instead the first person narration from a child brings a dry, irony laden humor to assorted catastrophes. The narrow minded village's disdain for a single mother with three children leads the ch [...]

    29. Alistair on said:

      It is after Lizzie's parents are divorced that her mother and two siblings begin the not-so-gentle slide from comparative riches to rags. Infuriated by the divorce Lizzie's mum takes solace in alcohol and writing plays - or snippets of plays that reflect the mess their lives have become. Jettisoned to a rural village whose inhabitants view the new arrivals with scepticism and hostility - for, after all, what's an attractive young woman doing here (apart from seducing the occasional local)?For Li [...]

    30. Natasha on said:

      Unfortunately I just could not connect with this book. I found that it was weighed down by the meaning behind every word. The premise was something that every child of divorced parents can relate to (or at least me) but the rest of it seemed like there was no parent in this novel - just the two girls with the mother and brother being afterthoughts when there was a break needed between the two girls. The ending seemed rushed - like the writer had run out of things for the girls to do - and ways t [...]

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