Minded a little
One test of a novel is how eager you are to pick it up. "Minding Ben" was compelling and I read it in large gulps over 48 hours. The wonderful nanny, Grace is so likable and you can't help but wish her well...although well is hard to come by in her life. But here is what I minded...I found there was a lot of anti-semitic rhetoric in the book and not much to counter it. If there had been more emphasis on a least one sympathetic Jewish character, I would have been more comfortable.
Rated of 5
by Gunta K. (Glens Falls, NY)
A Spicy Read
This story is about Grace. She is a recent arrival from Trinidad. From "the bush" as she herself puts it. Grace is very young, employed by an American couple residing in Brooklyn. Herein starts the fun. Caribbean nannies of all shapes and sizes, with different dialects from their respective islands, congregate, with their charges, in a local park on most mornings. Of course they all know each other and all the gossip from the households they work in. This outing is the ultimate social life for these women. There is a parallel, or even one could say an underground culture running alongside the every day life of Americans. A culture of people who live among the Brooklynites, as well as, other sections of New York, who speak patois, an island tongue, cook their island foods, observe their own customs, have their own troubles, spend time criticizing their employers but still manage to have a lot of fun. Grace and her friend Kathy are marvelously depicted as to their fascination with our land and its opportunities, as well as, their nights out in their own dance halls with that spicy way of dressing plus the loudest music ever.
Victoria Brown has caught the spices and hot winds of Trinidad in her book.
Rated of 5
by Very Busy Mom (Burlingame, CA)
Nanny Diaries meets The Devil Wears Prada
A very small glimpse of life as an illegal domestic in New York City and the hardships one must go through in order to feel safe and trusted in your job. The author did a fantastic job pulling the reader into the life of the main character. I really wish she had shared more of the day-to-day activities...it seemed like a lot was left out, either from boredom or the atrocity of it all. Great book for trip...not so sure for a book club read though.
Rated of 5
by Carolee H. (Tucson, AZ)
The will to flourish
I really enjoyed the book. I grew up on the upper east side of Manhattan and can tell you everything written in the book is amazingly accurate. I was amazed at the detail of the encounters with the Bruckner’s and the describing of the lobby of the towers is was all so real for me. I would recommend this book for all to read especially all New Yorkers. I would recommend a free copy be mailed to every home on Park and 5th Ave. I was a little disappointed with the ending, it seemed to end to abruptly. Even though things were looking up for Grace when the book ended. I would have like it to end when she got her green card. Or when she could at least go back to Bruckners and say look at me now once she received her college degree.
Rated of 5
by Barbara F. (Santa Rosa, CA)
I would recommend this book without reservation. The narrative is compelling and draws the reader into the frustration, unfairness and sometimes the small joys of the illegal immigrant life in New York City. I was often unsure of whether I was reading a memoir or a novel. I think this confusion stems from a lack of story line or plot. It is, at times, an uncomfortable read because the reader does not want to be associated in any way with the thoughtlessness and selfishness the heroine has to deal with. The ending adds to the confusion between memoir and novel but that doesn't spoil the read. It would be a good Book Club read.
Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by 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!
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...