** Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

The heroine of Reasons to be Cheerful is a young woman who gets a job as an assistant to a shady dentist (he extracts, or tries to extract, his own teeth!) and tries to figure out her life with the help of women’s magazines–and no help from her mother, who has her own bohemian life.

It’s all charmingly bumbling, sometimes a little too bumbling, but the author keeps throwing in well-observed details about grandmothers, NHS reimbursements for dental procedures, or the awkwardness of having your boyfriend be your mother’s lodger.

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