Minding Ben invites readers into the private world of one of the anonymous West Indian babysitters who have peopled the lives of so many young urban families for decades. Grace left Trinidad for New York with hopes for a better life and education. As she struggles to adjust to her new life - and to determine just what shape her American Dream will take - Grace finds work as a nanny for the unconscionable Bruckners, a job that pays meager wages for its demanding and humiliating responsibilities.
At the mercy of her employers, and unprepared for the playground politics within the West Indian babysitting community, Grace nevertheless carries the day as she navigates the complicated world of America with strength and perseverance. Minding Ben offers a rarely seen account of the immigrant experience in this strong, compassionate, and insightful narrative.
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"Despite lyrical prose, the narrative does not develop so much as unravel according to vagaries of chance... However, Brown is a new voice with much to offer." - Kirkus Reviews
"[T]his interesting first novel is told from the perspective of someone who has been there and done that. Brown drew from her personal experience as a young immigrant nanny, and her story is fascinating, tender, and heartbreaking." - Library Journal
"The language of the Caribbean sings through the pages, and if the adults misbehave and mismanage their lives, your heart breaks for the kids... A too-tidy ending wraps it all up with a bow of hope, but the striving and sadness that precedes it is what sticks." - Publishers Weekly
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Victoria Brown was born in Trinidad and at just 16 years old came alone to New York, where she worked as a full-time nanny for several years. She majored in English at Vassar College before attending the University of Warwick in the UK. Eventually, Victoria returned to New York, where she taught English at LaGuardia Community College. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two adorable children and has a part-time nanny in her employ. Visit her website at http://www.byvictoriabrown.com/
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