Luisa A. (Flemington, NJ)
Review of Minding Ben
The book started a little slow but it quickly picked up and it was hard to put down. At first I had some unanswered question but as the book progressed it was clear why some information was not given up front. The characters in the book are all so human, there is no bad or good person - just human with flaws that makes it hard to not like everyone even though there actions were sometimes questionable. It was a great story about hope, believing in humanity and that in the end things work out one way or another. Not always the way we hoped or thought but it works out. I recommend this book!
Susan S. (Middlebury, Connecticut)
Minding Ben by Victoria Brown
This is not a frivolous beach read like The Nanny Diaries. Minding Ben is a far more substantial novel, full of prejudice and the injustices experienced by any group of people who find themselves in the position of the "underdog".
The dialect was a distraction at times but was necessary for authenticity.
The main characters were well fleshed out, and if the character of Grace is partly autobiographical, then I take my hat off to Victoria Brown.
A good read.
Debby H. (Grand Blanc, MI)
I really liked this story. I found myself wanting to read it every spare minute I had. This is actually quite rare for me because I bore easily. I think if an author, through their writing, can cause the reader to experience strong emotions, said author must be quite good. There was a particular character in "Minding Ben" that I swear to you, I just wanted to strangle she irked me so desperately. Enough said.
Gail G. (Northbrook, Illinois)
This is a sad but well written book about Grace Caton, a 16 year old Trinidad girl who gets talked into coming to America to further her education and better her life. She is disappointed at every turn from the moment she steps off the plane.
I do not know if young people would enjoy this book but I’m sure older readers would. The characters are very well developed. The story line is believable and I’m sure one that is easily recognizable.
Kristen K. (Atlanta, Georgia)
Minding Ben by Victoria Brown
This story of a young woman employed as a nanny in New York City with a family that takes advantage of her has been done before. The nanny is a recent immigrant from Trinidad so there are cultural differences. I liked the main character and admired her tenacity, family ties and strong work ethic but felt her story was too familiar. This book is an easy read and mildly entertaining but would provide little for a book club to discuss.
Carm D. (Omaha, NE)
This was an excellent first novel. The fact that it is partially autobiographical is a bonus. One realizes what a brave young lady she was to come to New York as a 16 year old girl from Trinidad, where she knew no one. The experiences of Grace in this novel are probably typical of many immigrants. They arrive here and some people take advantage of them, it is so sad that this happens. I hope there will be another book continuing Grace's journey, I'm looking forward to more of her story.
avid (Springfield, IL)
Well-written, realistic, and compassionate narrator
I really enjoyed the main character in this book, and the fact that her experiences derive from those of the author, Victoria Brown. The narrator, Grace, behaves with dignity and character (and, yes, grace) in the face of incredible challenges and setbacks. She has created a very difficult situation for herself, coming to America alone as a 16-year-old, determined to make a life for herself in a country purported to be brimming with opportunity. Her story is at times crushing and sad, at other times hopeful and inspiring, but always compelling.
This book is very readable, while giving insight into parts of America that many of us are unfamiliar with. My only reservation about the book is its failure to resolve the issues of most of the satellite characters. But I would still recommend it as an enjoyable, compassionate read.