Photograph by Sarah Ketelaars

Living With It

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Novel of the Week   —Mail on Sunday

'A surprising page-turner with an extraordinarily haunting conclusion.'—Mail on Sunday

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Lizzie Enfield’s compelling novel explores the hearts and minds of ordinary people as they struggle to come to terms with the choices they’ve made.

One-year-old Iris is deaf. Her parents, Ben and Maggie, are devastated. So are their close friends Isobel and Eric.

Isobel knows that her decision, taken years ago, not to have her own children vaccinated against measles is to blame for Iris’s deafness. And Ben knows this too. To make matters worse, Isobel is the woman he fell in love with in his twenties—the woman who married his best friend. As he and Maggie start legal proceedings, Isobel’s world begins to unravel.

Acutely observed and utterly gripping, this novel by Lizzie Enfield explores love and loss, guilt and recovery, with humour, honesty and page-turning prose.

William Nicholson

A compelling read, with a constantly evolving plot that kept me hooked to the end, as well as a vivid, detailed and funny picture of the life of two modern families.

James LeFanu

Living With It is a brilliant evocation of emotional turmoil. Lizzie Enfield vividly portrays the parental dilemmas, moral complexities and potentially tragic consequences of the MMR controversy. Gripping and thought provoking.

Sarah Rayner

Lizzie Enfield is a writer with a gift for conveying the intricacies and subtleties of relationships between family and friends. Her dialogue is perfectly pitched, and her storytelling thought-provoking and nuanced. Living With It explores an emotive issue with insight and care.

Araminta Hall

Lizzie Enfield has a great talent for mirroring all our lives through those small moments that make up a whole. She has a wonderful forensic style in which ordinary details are used to create extraordinary stories. Her writing reminds me of Anne Tyler’s.


Provides a vivd picture of life within the two famlies, and manages to retain an air of humour while dealing with such serious issues. It remains entertaining and thought-provoking throughout.

Sussex Life

This book feels more polished and assured than her last. The milieu is typical Enfield - trendy middle-class Brighton families - but this time, rather than mere affairs of the heart, she tackles a social issue: the MMR scandal. Enfield paints a very believable picture of contemporary family life as the fallout causes rifts between husbands and wives, parents and children, and sends shock waves right through their extended circle.

Anne Cater

Lizzie Enfield has produced a cleverly woven story of family intricacies and the politics of friendship with the topical and controversial subject of the MMR vaccine.

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Spirit FM

With a real talent for dialogue and an elegant but accessible writing style, Enfield’s intelligent and hugely compelling novel boasts brilliantly drawn characters, spot-on observations of family life and the well-presented arguments from both sides.  Highly recommended.

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Brighton and Hove Independent

A compelling family drama that concentrates the mind most wonderfully on the detail and nuances of family life... Enfield pinpoints the seemingly trivial details that can make or break [a holiday with friends] with forensic attention... a stylish, understated book that can be read on many levels.

Ian Kirkpatrick

Lizzie Enfield's third novel represents a significant change in her writing style. This novel has a much darker tone and, to my mind, far greater depth and emotional resonance... I found this to be a compelling, thought-provoking and ultimately satisfying novel that bravely tackles some complex and emotive issues. I would recommend it without hesitation.

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Fiveways Directory

Living With It is a clever, subtle, multi-layered novel which, as a parent, I found both chilling and gripping. You don't need to have children of your own, however, to find yourself quickly immersed in this rich and complex tale of ordinary people battling extraordinary circumstances.


The strength of the writing lies in the secondary characters whose perceptions and experiences are deftly used to demonstrate opposing points of view. These perceptive passages explain how there are no right or wrong answers, there is only the choice you make at the time. The denouement of this perfectly pitched novel features a breathtaking twist that reinforces everything that has gone before. Highly recommended.

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Catherine Smith

I loved Living With It. What a brave and timely book.

We Love This Book

A highly provocative and thought-provoking novel... Lizzie Enfield has produced a superb examination of one of the most contentious of recent issues, exploring both sides of a morally ambiguous coin and the wider impact of the decisions we make.

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Living with it

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