The Manny by Holly Peterson
|The Manny by Holly Peterson|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The male nanny made quite a difference to young Dylan's life - and he was a catalyst for changes in Jamie Whitworth's life too - but if you're expecting chick-lit then you'll be disappointed. There's a lot more depth to this book.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: February 2007|
|Publisher: Harper Collins|
Jamie Whitfield is married to Phillip and has three children - although, if truth be told, she has four children, but shares a bed with one of them, who also happens to have a highly paid job. Well, most people would think that he has a highly-paid job, but Phillip is resentful that he's not one of the super-rich. Just nicely getting into seven figures is simply not enough. Living in New York's Grid is not enough - he wants one of the massive apartments. Jamie works too, but she's only a part-time television news producer, so obviously her needs - and rights - are going to be secondary.
Of the three children who qualify as such on an age basis, Dylan is the eldest and he's having some problems. A lot of it comes down to the fact that his parents - and particularly his father - are absent a lot of the time. He needs more attention - male attention - so when Jamie spots Peter Bailey with a group of kids in the park, hiring a manny (that's a male nanny, just in case you hadn't worked it out...) seems like the obvious solution. The fact that he's drop-dead gorgeous as well as being intelligent didn't harm any, either. So, obviously it's going to be a story about a woman who's tempted by the charms of a younger man, but who comes to realise that she's got treasure at home, right?
Yes, it's a story about the rich being different. Holly Peterson grew up in The Grid (and lives there still with her family) and has worked as a producer for ABC News Primetime, so this is authentic rather than researched. You get the upsides and the downsides of the rich and the gradations within the species. You'll know what it's really like to be a news producer, how the egos interact and just how easily the house of cards can fall down. She catches the dynamics of a marriage well, how relatively small incidents can alter the whole balance of the relationship. And she does attraction brilliantly.
I've just read the book, some six years and more after it was first published but I've been surprised at just how timeless it is. It catches the mood of a post 9/11 New York that still can't believe that it happened - or that something similarly dreadful won't happen sometime soon. The world financial crisis was still to come, but there's a sense of the precariousness of the financial world and of people scrabbling by any means possible for the upper hand. It's remarkably prescient.
It's a good story too. Jamie and Phillip have been married for more than a decade and the early days of romance have given way to the reality of two working lives and three children. The marriage is going through a sticky patch - but that's not unusual - and Peterson captures the temptations, the priorities well. It's not a love story, but rather a story of how a woman develops her own values - as a mother, an employee and as a person - and decides to live by them.
I really enjoyed it!
We've recently been impressed by Woman on Top by Deborah Schwartz and it's a book you might appreciate if you've enjoyed The Manny.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Manny by Holly Peterson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Manny by Holly Peterson at Amazon.com.
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