Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe

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In “Paradise Lodge,” as in life, there’s not much plot, but there are incidents galore. There is also a great deal of death, which you may find odd based on the merry tone of this review. But it is, in fact, a merry book.
-NY Times

Synopsis


A delightful story of growing up, getting old, and every step in between, from the acclaimed author of Man at the Helm and Love, Nina.

After succeeding in her quest to help her unconventional mother find a new "man at the helm," fifteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel simply wants to be a normal teenager. Just when it looks as if things have settled down, her mother goes and has another baby. On top of that, Lizzie's best friend has deserted her for the punk craze, which Lizzie finds too exhausting to commit to herself.

But Lizzie soon gets more commitment than she bargained for when she takes a job as a junior nurse at Paradise Lodge, a ramshackle refuge for the elderly that has seen better days. It's no place for a teenager, much less one with as little experience emptying a bedpan as Lizzie. What begins as away to avoid school and earn some spending money (for the finer things in life, like real coffee and beer shampoo) quickly turns into the education of a lifetime. Lizzie encounters a colorful cast of eccentric characters--including a nurse determined to turn one of the patients into a husband (and a retirement plan); an efficient but clueless nun trying to modernize the place; and Lizzie's unlikely first love--who become her surrogate family.

When Paradise Lodge faces a crisis in the form of a rival nursing home with enough amenities to make even the comatose jealous, Lizzie must find a way to save her job before she loses the only place she's ever felt she belongs. A hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale, Paradise Lodge proves that it's never too early--or too late--to grow up.
 

About Nina Stibbe

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Nina Stibbe was born in Leicester. She is the author of the hugely acclaimed Love, Nina. She now lives in Cornwall with her partner and two children. Man at the Helm is her first novel.
 
Published July 12, 2016 by Little, Brown and Company. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Paradise Lodge
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on May 04 2016

Looser and less unified than the first book until near the end, the novel closes on a celebratory note, knitting multiple loose ends together and propelling frequent-truant Lizzie back to school to fulfill her potential as “an intellect-ual.”

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by MOLLY YOUNG on Aug 08 2016

In “Paradise Lodge,” as in life, there’s not much plot, but there are incidents galore. There is also a great deal of death, which you may find odd based on the merry tone of this review. But it is, in fact, a merry book.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Isabel Berwick on Jun 24 2016

This is a humane, moving and very funny novel...Stibbe is herself becoming a worthy successor to Pym, that peerless chronicler of the melancholy pleasures and small struggles of 20th-century English life...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Hannah Beckerman on Jun 05 2016

Keenly observed and sparkling with Stibbe’s trademark deadpan humour, Paradise Lodge is a quintessentially English social comedy: a novel that revels in the comic – and occasionally tragic – minutiae of everyday life.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Emma Healey on Jun 03 2016

Towards the end of the book Lizzie has a revelation about what “home” means...We all need somewhere like that, and if it can’t be a physical place we can at least find something like it in a book like this.

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