This is such a well written book that skillfully tells the horrors of alcoholism. I hope that readers who do not struggle with addiction will see things differently and gain some understanding and compassion after reading Nina is Not OK. I really enjoyed it and I know that I will be thinking about Nina for some time to come.
There are lots of books and movies out there that glamorise addiction, even unintentionally. Nina is Not OK is not one of those books.
Having worked in the field of addiction I was unsure about how I’d find this book, as so often inaccuracies frustrate me, and recovery is made to look very easy. Impressively I found none of this in Nina Is Not OK.
Nina is 17, her father is dead, her mother is married to a new man and has a half sister, Katie aged 6. Nina loves Katie in an adorable way, but she struggles with her relationship with her mother and step dad, Alan. This, combined with the fact that Nina’s boyfriend has dumped her for someone he just met prove to be too much for Nina. She descends into a world dominated with alcohol and sex with men she just met. Nina is consumed by anger and the only way that she can cope with this is to drink herself into oblivion.
Despite her awful treatment of her family and friends they stick with her, eventually showing her the tough love that she needs and taking her to rehab. While the author doesn’t go into a lot of detail about her time in rehab, what is there is in my experience, fairly realistic. Once out Nina attempts to put her life back together, she throws herself back into her A-Levels and rebuilding her relationships with her friends and family. Without alcohol to skew her thinking she is able to come to terms with things that previously consumed her and with the quiet and steady support from her 12-step sponsor she begins to rebuild her life.
The author, Shappi Khorsandi, writes a painfully accurate portrayal of alcoholism. It isn’t sensationalised or overdramatised. I would think that the author must have experience of alcoholism in some form or other.
I think that Nina is Not OK is a good book for anyone to read, but for those with family or friends who struggle with addiction it is good insight into the thinking that goes on in the addicts mind, and how powerless they are over their addiction. I couldn’t help but wonder while reading whether this would be a good book for people in early recovery to read. I think Nina is Not OK would be a good book to give to someone in active addiction, especially a young person, but I don’t think that someone in early recovery should read it due to the risk of being triggered. There is also frequent reference to a rape that some readers should be aware of.
I received a copy of Nina Is Not OK from the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?
Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.
And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.
But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…