Minding Ben by Victoria Brown

Posted on: 8 April, 11

If this book was not part of the assigned reading for the Early Reviewers, I would have stopped reading after the first chapter.  There were no surprises.  The plot and characters were entirely predictable.  Maybe I read too much to be surprised by a book.  

The basic plot line is a young girl, Grace, leaves her home in Trinidad for a "better" life in America.  She finds work as a nanny for a wealthy family in New York City.  Of course, the family expects her to worn long hour and do things way beyond her job description.  The father, Sol, makes a pass at her.  The mother, Miriam, is critical and demanding.  It is the stereotypical "nanny to the wealthy" story.  

At the local park, Grace encounters the usual struggles when tries to break into the nanny clique.  Most of them initially reject her as a newcomer, but one becomes her friend.  She worries about her family as they face their own struggles back home.  She worries about getting a green card.  She worries about money.  She wants a boyfriend.  No surprises there.  

There were opportunities to give the story more intrigue.  Miriam "married up."  There were hints that this caused conflict with her family.  How did Sol's family feel about his choice in a wife?  Why did Sol make a pass at Grace when there were no hints of real problems in his marriage?  The child seemed fairly normal.  There was no evidence that his elite lifestyle caused him any harm.  Where was the conflict?  What reason did I have to care about any of these characters?


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