Sherri A. (westbrook, ct)
This book is...luscious. You immediately feel for Grace, newly-arrived from Trinidad and desperately searching for a nanny position. What so drives this novel is the strong voice; from Trinidad to the West Indies to Jamaica, these characters seem to spring off the page, each identifiable by their unique ways of speech. I truly enjoyed this book, and will happily pass the title along...!
Teresa C. (Pickerington, OH)
I really enjoyed this book. Gave so many different perspectives rather than just the usual difficult New York parents and spoiled child vs poor pathetic over worked nanny take. Victoria Brown allows us to see what Grace is coming from in her Trinidad upbringing and her daily struggles to survive in New York outside of her nanny day job. Very well rounded look at life of an immigrant nanny. Highly recommend this book!
La Deana R. (Norman, OK)
Minding Ben by Victoria Brown
Victoria Brown's novel, Minding Ben, was a joy to read. I enjoyed reading about the young Grace's journey from the island of Trinidad to her life in New York City. Arriving in New York City in the late 1980's, merely 16 years old, Grace manages to carve a life for herself as a nanny to the rich as a step toward her own life goals. This book reminds me of The Help, in that it allows for a long look into the treatment of "the help" and the interactions between the different nannies as well as the relationship between the employer and employee. Beautifully written, fully engaging and with characters you want to cheer on, this book is for anyone who wants a refreshing change.
Robin F. (Tucson, AZ)
a captivating read
This first novel by Victoria Brown is not just a good read, but it holds your attention throughout the entire book. I immediately became caught up in the life and experiences of 16 year old Grace Caton who came from Trinidad to NYC to find employment as a nanny (or child-care worker), but also to further her education because she had a life vision. It is clear that Grace is much more mature than one would expect. She is faced with unusual situations with friends and relatives that make promises they won't keep and they also try to take advantage of her regularly. If is often just a struggle for Grace to find a safe place to spend the night in Brooklyn. She does find a few people who protect her. However, Grace is always able to have a positive outcome. She's a delightful woman and I hope Victoria will give us more of her as she moves through life.
Barbara B. (Alta Loma, CA)
A Multicultural Gem
Minding Ben is so much more than another "Nanny Diaries" novel. For me, it read as a serious story about a young woman, from Trinidad, living in America & struggling to find her place.
Grace is very strong & it was easy to forget that she was 16 years old. I loved her determination to make it work.
I really liked her friends & found myself pulling for them. Miriam & Sol seemed to be over the top & I didn't care what happened to them.
I feel as though this book would make a good choice for book clubs, as there are a lot of social issues to discuss.
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.