Books · Discussion · Reviews

Nina is Not OK by Shoppi Khorsandi || Neither am I after reading this

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4 stars

Nina is not OK is about a girl named Nina who likes to drink a bit too much. Because of her addiction, she encounters many strange, awkward incidents and often finds that she has no recollection of it. The story is about her coming to terms with her problem and the aftermath of a particularly terrible night when she was drunk but doesn’t remember.

The reason I requested this book was because I thought it would be a quick, light read with romance. Needless to say, it wasn’t what I expected but I still found this to be a very powerful read. It teaches some important messages in a manner that isn’t preachy or pretentious. Reading from Nina’s point of view and seeing how hard it is for her to accept her alcoholism was very sad but also an eye opener to how people with these problems look at the world. This is such a realistic book, talking about problems that actual teenagers do face and throwing light on situations and how to deal with them.

While I loved the message of this story, it wasn’t flawless. It’s a long book and the first hundred or one fifty pages were very repetitive. It was just: Nina drinks. Nina yells. Nina regrets. Nina repeats. The author might’ve been trying to give us an idea of how bad her problem was by narrating instance after instance of her messing up her life but after a while it got boring. Her message came across but the story just wouldn’t move on. The writing isn’t excellent. It’s readable and reading from Nina’s point of view is interesting but I did feel at some points that the story could have been explained better.

Nina as a character is so frustrating to read. She doesn’t seem to understand how her drinking habits are affecting both herself and the people she surrounds herself with but she does a complete 180 by the end of the story. She used to be a bit lost and longing for her ex boyfriend but by the end she’s calmer, more confident and more independent. What bothered me most was that she was a smart girl, but for some reason she just couldn’t quit drinking until really drastic things happened.

While Nina was annoying, after she was out of rehab, her friend Zoe was so irritating. Her adamance of upholding that her boyfriend was right and her best friend wrong was terrible and not at all justified. I hated Zoe with a passion.

Every character in this book is so special and unique and has a role of their own. I love Beth and her father and how supportive they are of Nina, I love Alan and how he looked at Nina as her own daughter and I loved Nina’s mother who sacrificed so much for her daughters. Everyone contributed something special to the story. Like I said earlier, this is a long book so naturally there are a lot of characters but by the end they all come up once or the other justifying their presence.

A topic that I wasn’t expecting to be in this book – rape. I’ve never read a book where the main character is raped (apart from Speak) and this was even worse because it was recorded and she was unconscious. I feel like this was a play on the case where the swimmer raped an innocent girl behind the dumpsters. It was so interesting to see Nina’s thought process through it all. Her internal debate on whether or not to go to the police. Before this book, I haven’t really empathised with how horrible victims of rape feel and how uncomfortable it must be to recount the scarring incident. I was genuinely crying at some parts because Nina had been through so such and she didn’t deserve at all how she was treated.

This is a beautiful story, discussing issues like addiction and rape in a very unique manner. I love the message and I think it’s a story everyone should consider reading.

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