Read advance reader review of Minding Ben by Victoria Brown, page 5 of 7

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Minding Ben

A Novel

by Victoria Brown

Minding Ben by Victoria Brown X
Minding Ben by Victoria Brown
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There are currently 46 member reviews
for Minding Ben
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  • Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
    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.
  • Julie D. (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)
    A Great Book
    First of all, I read this book in 24 hours. I couldn't put it down. I really loved Grace, and wanted to know what was going to happen next. This book had so many layers and such great multi-dimensional characters that it would be a great selection for a bookclub. I will definitely recommend this to my friends.
  • Anne M. (Austin, TX)
    Trini Nanny Diaries
    This book brought back fond memories of my own time as a nanny for two different families -- mainly because my own treatment was so much better than that received by Grace, the narrator/protagonist of "Minding Ben." The book gives a harsher view of a caregiver's work in New York than does "The Nanny Diaries," although why any of these women put up with the treatment they did is beyond me ... is the "American Dream" really THAT strong?!
    Victoria Brown really makes the non-WASP sides of Brooklyn come to life, as well as the worries of a young woman leaving her family for the first time, having to make it on her own with little support even from her own immigrant community. The book made me realize how lucky I was to be employed by the families I cared for!
  • Joan V. (Miller Place, NY)
    Don't call her
    A very satisfying read. The story revolves around 16 yr old Grace who comes to America by herself and is thrown into a situation she has not planned on. The plan was for Grace to mind her cousin’s children in exchange for room & board, but her cousin never shows up at the airport to meet her. Instead Grace eventually ends up with a family in NYC minding Ben. How she survives and her “adventures” (as she refers to them) is a fascinating story. The book is a fast read, one that you get into immediately and don’t want to put down. You just HAVE to learn what happens next!

    Some of the characters are a bit stereotypical, i.e. the Bruckners, Ben’s parents; Sol and Miriam are sometimes a bit too much. However, we do get to see shades of Miriam’s past and that helps to make her more likable.

    A good book club choice; it has a lot of points that would be ripe for an interesting discussion. I really want to read more novels by Ms. Brown.
  • Marion T. (Palatine, IL)
    Minding Ben
    The story though interesting is familiar and predictable. A bit stereotypical in regards to all the secondary characters. Similar to the "Nanny Diaries" with a bit of "The Help". The main character, however, is well developed and I did want to know more about her, where she cameo from-where she was going. Not bad for a first novel.
  • Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC)
    Minding Ben
    When I read the synopsis of Minding Ben and the bio of the author, two things immediately came to mind – Jamaica Kincaid, as her bio reads like Victoria Brown’s and Substitute Me by Lori Tharps, a book I read this summer regarding the nanny experience in NYC. So I anxiously waited for Minding Ben to arrive in the mail as I hoping for an updated story of the Caribbean nanny experience which Jamaica Kincaid brilliantly wrote about in her book, Lucy, and to take what Lori Tharps did with a middle class black nanny in Brooklyn and add the Caribbean spin to her storyline. At the end of the story I was disappointed with the overall approach to the story.
    I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the frustration, pain, and the abuse an undocumented worker seeking a nanny position has to endure. I also appreciated the peek into the Caribbean world of nannies what binds them and what separates. Many readers had an issue with the dialect, but I did not. I appreciated how the author portrayed the Caribbean women as one to their employers and how among themselves they appreciate their diversity by island, and this is both a common bond and a source of conflict.
    The author explores the conflict between the Jewish and Caribbean population in Brooklyn, but this aspect was just too stereotyped to me and did not explore the depth of this relationship. Also, there were secondary themes that were introduced that if further explored would have made a more rounded story, but just left me frustrated. I think the book would have been better served to explore just one or two of themes presented more fully instead of just giving the reader a taste of many. With that said, I do look forward to reading future work by Victoria Brown as she has the potential to be an excellent writer.
  • Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)
    Minding Ben
    A look into the life of an undocumented immigrant and the nanny community she moves into in New York. Grace is just trying to get by in her new country and take good care of her charge Ben. Ben's parents take advantage of the situation, promising to file immigration paperwork if she "works out" as Ben's nanny. Their blackmail like tactics give Grace hope while forcing her into more and more additional duties. We meet Grace's nanny friends who also are going through similar circumstances. I did enjoy the book however parts of it were familiar and reminded me of Nanny Diaries in the Trinidadian community.

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