Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Manny and the miniBookExpo

This summer I’m participating in the miniBookExpo for Bloggers. You can too. All I had to do was choose a book (or two) from a pre-selected list and write a review. Special shout-out to Lex for organizing this event.

The Manny by Holly Peterson (published by The Dial Press) was my first selection. I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I found it quite trivial and trashy; on the other hand, I couldn’t put it down.

Jamie Whitfield is the main character in this fish out of water story. A news producer with a middle-class upbringing, we meet her as a flustered mother of three and married into the upper crust of New York’s Park Avenue high-society. Richard, her high-strung corporate lawyer husband, is never around and whines incessantly that his million-dollar salary isn’t enough for him to keep up with the Joneses.

Dylan, the eldest son, has some issues and at the suggestion of some of the other desperate trophy housewives in the school yard, Jamie decides to hire Peter Bailey, a “manny” (male nanny, get it?) so Dylan will have a male figure around the house (and she will too).

I’m sure you’ve already guessed how this story will end. There are a few plot twists and mid-way through, there is a whole other subplot dealing with Jamie’s career. At times, it seemed like I was reading two different stories.

Although Peterson does an excellent job of illustrating the lives of the uber-riche in NYC down to the finest detail, it seemed so superficial and shallow. However, when she focuses on Jamie’s career, her writing is more interesting and sophisticated. I’m sure the author’s own career in broadcasting helps give us readers insight only a person with first-hand experience could depict. Had Peterson focused more on Jamie’s career, it would have been a better book. Unfortunately, the story continues about an extra 100 pages, back to the predictable, trashy and mundane.

Much of The Manny was a rehashing of many girl-in-unhappy-relationship-meets-new-guy, new guy helps her confront her unhappiness. They realize they were made for each other, blah, blah blah.

The biggest disappointment was with Peterson’s perspective on personal wealth. As much as she mocks the wealthy Park Avenue lifestyle, in the end her bias comes across loud and clear: money does buy happiness. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean.

Have you read The Manny? What did you think? Which guilty pleasure(s) have you read this summer? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: book club, guilty pleasures, Holly Peterson, miniBookExpo for Bloggers, The Manny


  1. Thanks for the tips on miniBookExpo. I was looking to see if there were any books about the Internet, but didn't see them. I left my name for one book and I'll see what happens.

    If anyone knows any good books on the Internet from a theory, history or business standpoint please let me know. (I'm looking for a book to top up my Amazon order for free shipping.)

    Just don't say Wikinomics!

    I'm thinking of trying out Everything is Miscellaneous or The Cult of the Amateur. Heard anything on these?

    Thanks for any help!

  2. I haven't read The Manny, but I have seen the trailer on You Tube. I think you might find that it's got similar "can't look away" qualities. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3leewFinQ4

  3. ooo ive heard all the crave surrounding this book. im actually thinking of picking it up due to your review!

    keep up the fabulous blog!

  4. Glen, I'd check out Foreword Thinking- podcast and fb group w/ Mitch Joel and HarperCollins for biz and motivational books.

    Katie, I agree, there are some interesting videos spoofing The Manny.

    Dimished, let us know what you think of The Manny.

    Happy reading everyone,



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