Manny

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Overview

What’s a Park Avenue working mom to do when her troubled son desperately needs a male role model and her husband is a power workaholic? If she’s like the gutsy heroine of Holly Peterson’s astute new comedy of manners among the ill-mannered elite, she does what every other woman on the block does. She hires herself a “manny.”

A solid middle-class girl from Middle America, Jamie Whitfield isn’t “one of them” but she lives in “the Grid,” the ...

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Overview

What’s a Park Avenue working mom to do when her troubled son desperately needs a male role model and her husband is a power workaholic? If she’s like the gutsy heroine of Holly Peterson’s astute new comedy of manners among the ill-mannered elite, she does what every other woman on the block does. She hires herself a “manny.”

A solid middle-class girl from Middle America, Jamie Whitfield isn’t “one of them” but she lives in “the Grid,” the wealthiest acre of real estate in Manhattan, where big money and big media collide. And she has most everything they have–a big new apartment, full-time help with her three children, as well as her very own detached Master of the Universe attorney husband. What she doesn’t have, however, is a full-time father figure for their struggling nine-year-old son, Dylan. But the rich haven’t yet encountered a problem they can’t hire someone else to solve.

Enter the manny.

At first the idea of paying a man to provide a role model for Dylan sounds too crazy to be true. But one look at Peter Bailey is enough to convince Jamie that the idea may not be quite so insane after all. Peter is calm, cool, competent, and so charmingly down-to-earth, he’s irresistible. And with the political sex scandal of the decade propelling her career as a news producer into overdrive, and her increasingly erratic husband locked in his study with suspicious files, Jamie is in serious need of some grounding.

Peter reminds her of everything she once was, still misses, and underneath all the high-society glitz, still is. But will the new manny in her life put the groundback beneath her feet, or sweep her off them?


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Jamie Whitfield, 36, lives on Park Avenue with her three children and her mostly absent high-powered attorney husband, Phillip, and works part-time as a producer for a prime-time news program. She hires Peter Bailey—29 and biding his time until he get funding for his software business—to plug the household's gaps and be a father figure to nine-year-old Dylan. The two, of course, are attracted to each other, and when Peter's money comes through, he doesn't tell Jamie. Phillip's temper tantrums when lacking pulpless orange juice or a wooden-handled umbrella are surprisingly funny, and a subplot where Jamie chases a trashy but potentially career-making story is strong. Jamie's co-workers are more realistically portrayed than her shallow friends, but even Jamie's children come alive when they root for mom's success. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Is charming 29-year-old Peter, the male nanny (or "manny") hired by beleaguered mom Jamie Whitfield, too good to be true? A big movie sale and rights out to 16 countries: a hot debut. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Busy Manhattan mom in a shaky marriage to a self-absorbed lawyer hires a strapping young hipster to spend quality time with her neglected son, in Emmy-winning, former ABC News producer Peterson's debut. With a fulfilling TV producer job, three healthy kids and a fabulous Upper East Side apartment, Jamie Whitfield is grateful for the hand she has been dealt, in spite of her less-than-perfect relationship with her difficult husband Phillip. A spoiled preppy prone to ridiculous temper tantrums, Phillip is also a workaholic who spends very little time with his family. This has taken a toll on nine-year-old Dylan, who has become sad, distant and unable to deal with disappointment. Thinking that her boy would benefit from a stabilizing male force, Jamie interviews a series of college-aged potential mannies without luck. Her prayers are answered when she sees Peter Bailey working with a group of special needs youngsters in the park. He might only be substituting for a friend, but he is a natural with kids. The 29-year-old Colorado native is no dumb bunny either: He's an Internet entrepreneur waiting on funding for a big project. Peter agrees to take Jamie's well-paying and flexible gig at least until his money comes through. Once in her house, Peter proves to be outgoing and warm. He has a positive effect on the kids, with Dylan overcoming his issues under Peter's big-brotherly wing. Peter also has an unexpected (to Jamie, if not the reader) effect on Mom, helping her see the hypocrisy of the hoity-toity world in which she lives, and getting her to stick up for herself at home and at work. Things with Phillip, meanwhile, continue to erode, and Jamie begins to realize she might have feelings for"the help."Peterson offers an amusing take on the mating habits of the Manhattan elite. And while the story holds few surprises, it benefits greatly from an attractive pair of would-be lovers.
From the Publisher
“Holly Peterson has a keen observer's eye for the frailties, foibles, and frivolities of present day upper class life among the rich of New York City. She understands her territory well and writes with authority."—Dominick Dunne, author of A Season In Pugatory

"Brisk, crisp, knowing and fun."—Christopher Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking

“Holly Peterson writes about the rich with acute understanding and a drop-dead eye for detail. The funniest, sexiest ride in the limo lane since The Bonfire of the Vanities.” —Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles

“Money, Manners, Mannys: Holly Peterson's debut is a fabulously sharp skewering of the silly-rich in New York. Observing a Park Avenue Working Mom falling for The Help had me both touched and tormented with laughter. I couldn't put it down. We should ALL get a Manny right now."–Plum Sykes, author of Bergdorf Blondes

I leapt on The Manny and devoured it in one sitting. It's a riveting portrait of millionaires' life on 'The Grid', full of eye-watering details. And it made me instantly want to hire a male nanny...... for me!—Sophie Kinsella, author of Shopaholic & Baby

“Holly Peterson takes us on a locomotive tour through the living rooms of the Upper East Side and the newsrooms of the media elite. The trip is sexy, hilarious, and heart-wrenching.”—Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007233021
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 2/19/2007

Meet the Author

Holly Peterson spent a decade as an Emmy award-winning producer at ABC news. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Talk, and Newsweek, where she is now a contributing editor. She lives in New York City with her family and is working on her next novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Wheels Up!

If you want to see rich people act really rich, go to St. Henry’s School for Boys at three p.m. on any weekday. Nothing makes rich people crazier than being around other rich people who might be richer than they are. Private school drop-off and pickup really gets them going. It’s an opportunity to stake their claim, show their wares, and let the other parents know where they rank in the top .001 percent of the top .0001 percent.

A cavalcade of black SUVs, minivans, and chauffeured cars snaked its way up the block beside me as I ran to my son’s after-school game. I’d skipped another meeting at work, but nothing was going to keep me that day. Gingko trees and limestone mansions lined the street where a crowd gathered in front of the school. I steeled myself and waded into a sea of parents: the dads in banker suits barking into their phones, the moms with their glamorous sunglasses and toned upper arms–many with dressed-up little darlings by their sides.These children play an important role in their parents’ never-ending game of one-upmanship as they are trotted out in smocked dresses, shuttled from French tutor to cello class, and discussed like prize livestock at a 4-H fair.

Idling in front of the school, with his tinted rear window half open, a cosmetics giant read about himself in the gossip columns. By his side, his four-year-old little girl watched a Barbie Fairytopia on the small screen that dropped down from the ceiling of the vehicle while he finished the article.The nanny, in a starched white uniform, waited patiently in the front seat for him to inform her it was time to go inside and pick up his son.

A few yards down the block, a three-and-a-half-inch green lizard heel was reaching for the sidewalk from the back of a fat silver Mercedes S600. The chauffeur flashed its yellow headlights at me. Next I saw a brown tweed skirt jacked up on a shapely thigh, ultimately revealing a thirty-something woman shaking out her honeycolored hair while her driver sprinted like a madman to get her arm.

“Jamie! Jamie!” called Ingrid Harris, waving her manicured hand.Dozens of chunky gold bangles jangled as they slid down her arm.

I tried to shield my eyes from the glare.“Ingrid. Please. I love you, but no. I’ve got to get to Dylan’s game.”

“I’ve been trying to reach you!”

I ducked into the crowd, knowing she would come after me.

“Jamie! Please! Wait!” Ingrid caught up to me, leaving her driver behind to contend with her two boys wailing in their car seats. She let out a huge breath as if the fifteen-foot walk from the Mercedes had taxed her.“Hooo!” Remember, this is a crowd that touches down on actual pavement as seldom as possible.“Thank God you were home last night.”

“No problem. Anytime.”

“Henry is so in debt to you,” said Ingrid.

The burly chauffeur carried each of her younger boys in one graceful arc from their car seats to the curb, as if he were placing eggs in a basket.

“The four Ambien. Henry was going hunting with some clients for five days, it was wheels-up at ten p.m. to Argentina, and he was crazed!”

“Jamie.” Next, a voice I loved. My friend Kathryn Fitzgerald. She commuted from Tribeca and she was wearing jeans and French sneakers. Like me, she wasn’t one of those people who grew up on the Upper East Side and never touched a doorknob in their entire life.“Hurry. Let’s plow up front.”

As we started up the marble stairs, a white Cadillac Escalade pulled up to the curb.You could tell a hundred feet away that there were children of a major CEO inside. It came to a stop and the aristocratic driver,wearing a bowler hat like Oddjob, got out and walked around to open the door, and the four McAllister kids piled out of their SUV with four Philippina nannies–each holding a child’s hand. All four of the nannies were wearing white pants, white rubbersoled shoes, and matching Dora the Explorer nurse’s shirts with little Band-Aids all over them. There were so many little children and nurses in their tight little pack that they looked like a centipede making its way up the steps.

At five minutes after three, the school opened and the parents politely but forcefully pushed each other to get in. Up four flights of stairs to the gym, I could hear echoes of young male voices and the screech of sneakers. St. Henry’s fourth-grade team was already out practicing in their royal-blue and white uniforms. I quickly scanned the court for my Dylan, but didn’t see him.The moms and dads from Dylan’s school were beginning to gather on one side of the bleachers.

Scattered among them were the team’s siblings with their nannies, representing almost every country in the United Nations. No Dylan.

I finally spotted him huddled on a bench near the locker room door. He was still dressed in his khakis and white button-down shirt with the collar undone. His blue blazer was draped on the bench beside him. When he saw me, he squinted and looked away. My husband, Phillip, summoned the exact same expression when he was angry and feeling put upon.

“Dylan! I’m here!”

“You’re late, Mom.”

“Sweetheart, I’m not late.”

“Well, some of the moms got here before you.”

“You know what? There’s a line outside, four moms deep, and I can’t cut the line.There’s a lot of moms still coming up behind me.”

“Whatever.” He looked away.

“Honey.Where’s your uniform?”

“In my backpack.”

I could feel the waves of stubborn tension emanating from my son.

I sat down next to him.“It’s time to put it on.”

“I don’t want to wear my uniform.”

Coach Robertson came over.“You know what?” He put his arms in the air, signaling his exasperation.“I’m not gonna force him into it every time. I told him he would miss the game, but I can’t make him put the uniform on. If you wanna know the reality of the situation here, he’s being ridiculous . . .”

“It’s really not being ridiculous.Okay?” This guy was never in tune with Dylan. I brought the coach to the side. “We’ve all discussed this–Dylan’s unease before a game. He’s nine years old. It’s his first year on a team.” The coach didn’t seem to be moved, and he took off.

Then I put my arm around Dylan. “Honey. Coach Robertson isn’t my favorite person, but he’s right. It’s time to put on the uniform.”

“He’s doesn’t even like me.”

“He likes all the boys the same, and even if he’s tough, he just wants you to play.”

“Well, I’m not gonna.”

“Even for me?”

Dylan shook his head. He had big brown eyes and strong features, with thick dark hair that never fell just right. Dylan’s mouth smiled more than his eyes ever did.

“Dylan! Hurry!” Douglas Wood, an obnoxious little kid with freckles, a crew cut, and a pudgy bottom, waddled over.

“What’s wrong with you, Dylan?”

“Nothing.”

“Well, then how come you’re not playing?”

“I am playing.”

“Well, how come you don’t have your uniform on?”

“Because my mom had to talk to me. It’s her fault.”

Coach Robertson, angry with Douglas for leaving the warm-up and with my son for his refusal to play at all, marched toward us, pumping his elbows.“Come on, kid.Time’s up. Let’s go.” He picked up Dylan’s backpack and pulled him by his hand toward the locker room. Dylan rolled his eyes back at me and lumbered along, dragging his uniform behind him on the floor. I headed for the bleachers with an ache in my heart.

Kathryn, who’d gone ahead to save me a seat in the bleachers, was now waving to me from the fifth row on the St. Henry’s side. She had twin boys in Dylan’s grade, as well as a daughter at our nursery school. Her twins, Louis and Nicky, were fighting over a ball, and Coach Robertson leaned down to whistle loudly into their ears to break it up. I watched Kathryn stand up to get a better look at their arguing, her long blond ponytail cascading down the back of her worn suede jacket. As I edged by twenty people to slip in next to her, she sat down and squeezed my knee.

“We made it just in time,” she said, smiling.

“Tell me about it.” I placed my tired head in the palms of my hands.

A few seconds later, the Wilmington Boys’ School team burst through the gym doors like an invading army. I watched my tentative son hang back beside the other players. His sweaty teammates ran back and forth, all in their last fleeting years of boyhood before the gawky ravages of adolescence took hold.They rarely threw the ball to Dylan, mostly because he never made eye contact and always jogged along the periphery of the team, safe outside any commotion. His lanky build and knobby knees made his movements less than graceful, like a giraffe making short stops.

“Dylan’s not playing well.”

Kathryn looked at me. “None of them play well. Look at them; they can barely get the ball up into the hoop. They’re not strong enough yet.”

“Yeah, I guess. But he’s down.”

“Not always down. It’s just sometimes,” Kathryn answered. Barbara Fisher turned around from the row in front of me. She was wearing tight jeans, a starched white blouse with the collar turned up against gravity, and an expensive-looking fuchsia cable-knit sweater.

She was too tan and as thin as a Giacometti statue.

“Ohhh, here’s the busy-bee-worky-worky-mom at a game.”

I jerked back.“It means a lot to me to see my son.” I looked over her head toward the boys.

Barbara moved over five inches to block my view and make another point.“We were talking at the school benefit meeting about how hard it must be for you, never being able to get involved in Dylan’s activities.”

She was so annoying.

“I like to work. But if you choose not to work outside the home, I can certainly understand. It’s probably a more enjoyable lifestyle.”

“You’re not doing it for the money. Obviously. Phillip’s such a heavy-hitter lawyer these days.” She was whispering (she thought), but everyone around us could hear her.“I mean, you can’t possibly be contributing much financially on a scale that matters.”

I rolled my eyes at Kathryn. “I actually make a pretty good salary, Barbara. But, no, I’m not really working for the money. It’s just something I like to do. Call it a competitive streak. And right now I need to concentrate on Dylan’s game because he can be competitive too, and I’m sure he’d like me to watch him play.”

“You do that.”

Kathryn pinched my arm too hard because she hated Barbara more than I did. I jumped at the pain and smacked her on the shoulder. She whispered into my ear,“Amazing Barbara didn’t find a way to bring up the new plane. In case you missed the billboard, Aaron’s
Falcon 2000 jet finally got delivered this weekend.”

“I’m sure I’ll hear about it soon,” I answered, staring out at the court. Dylan was now attempting to block a shot, but the player ran right around him toward the basket and scored. The whistle blew.

Warm-up over.All the kids retreated to their sides in a huddle.

“You know what’s so obnoxious?” Kathryn whispered to me.

“So many things.”

“They can’t just say,‘We’re leaving at three for the weekend,’ which would actually mean they are leaving at three in the afternoon by car or train or some commercial flight or whatever.” She leaned in closer to me.“No, they want you to know one thing: they’re flying private.

So suddenly they start talking like their pilots–‘Oh,we’re leaving for the weekend, and it’s wheels-up at three p.m.’” She shook her head and grinned.“Like I give a shit what they’re doing in the first place.”

When I first married into this crowd, coming from middle-class, Middle American roots, these Manhattan Upper East Side families naturally intimidated me. My parents, always donning sensible Mephistos on their feet and fanny packs around their waists, reminded me all too often that I should keep a distance from the people in this newfound neighborhood–that back home in Minneapolis, it was easier to be haaaapy. Though I’ve tried to adjust for the sake of my husband,I’ll never get used to people throwing out their pilot’s name in conversation as if he were the cleaning lady.“I thought we’d take a jaunt to the Cape for a dinner, so I asked Richard to please be ready at three.”

Dylan was on the bench with about ten other teammates as Coach Robertson threw the ball in the air for the jump ball. Thankfully, Dylan was excited by the game.He was talking to the kid next to him and pointing to the court. I relaxed a bit and let out a breath.

Two minutes later, a sippy cup ricocheted off my shoulder and landed in Kathryn’s lap.We both looked behind us.“So sorry!” said a heavily accented Philippina nurse. The McAllister centipede was trying to maneuver into a row of bleachers behind me.Two of the younger children were braying like donkeys. This was the kind of thing that really got Kathryn going. She was no stranger to poor behavior from her own children, but she couldn’t stomach the lack of respect the bratty Park Avenue kids spewed at their nannies.

She looked at them and turned to me.“Those poor women.What they must put up with. I’m going to do it. Right now. I’m going to ask them if there is a set schedule for matching uniforms and see what they say.You know, like Sponge Bob on Mondays, Dora on Tuesdays.”

“Stop. Kathryn. Please.Who cares?”

“Hello? Like you, the obsessive list keeper, wouldn’t want to know?” Kathryn smiled. “Next time you’re at Sherrie’s house for a birthday party, sneak into the kitchen and go to the desk next to the phone. There’s a bound color-coded house manual that she had Roger’s secretary type up. Instructions for everything–I mean every single thing you could imagine.”

“Like what?”

“I thought you weren’t interested.”

“Okay, maybe I am a little.”

“Timetables for the overlapping staff: first shift, six a.m. to two p.m., second, nine to five, and third, four to midnight. Schedules for the pets, for the dogs’ walkers and groomers. Directives on which of the children’s clothes should be folded or hung. How to organize their mittens and scarves for fall, for winter dress, for winter sports. Where to hang all the princess costumes in the walk-in cedar closet once they’re ironed–yes, you heard me–after they are ironed.Which china for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and season: seashells for summer, leaves for Thanksgiving, wreaths for the Christmas holidays. I can’t even remember half of it.” Kathryn pressed on.“It’s priceless.”

“You know what’s even sicker?” I added. “I’d want to get cozy under my sheets with a mug of hot tea and read every goddamn word of that insane manual before bedtime.”

Thirty minutes later,the game was going strong.Suddenly Wilmington scored and the crowd jumped to their feet and roared. I stepped on top of the bleacher to get a better look, almost falling onto Barbara Fisher. Then Wilmington stole the ball again from St. Henry’s. My Dylan, in sync with them for once, wildly trying to block the ball while his opponents threw the ball back and forth around the key.

Time was running out before halftime. Wilmington was up one point. One of their players made a bold move to score again, but the ball bounced off the rim.They grabbed the ball and tried again.This time, the ball bounced off the bottom corner of the backboard at a hundred miles an hour. Right at Dylan. Miraculously he caught it, and was completely stunned. Looking petrified, he surveyed the distance to his basket on the other side of the court, miles and miles to go before he scored.Then came an opening between two opposing guards and Dylan sprinted.The crowd cheered him on. I looked at the timer . . . :07, :06, :05,:04.We all counted the seconds before the buzzer rang. Dylan was directly under the basket. Oh please, God; scoring this shot would rock his world.

The shot was clear. He looked at me. He looked at his teammates rushing toward him. He looked back at the basket. “Shoot, Dylan, shoot!!!” they screamed.

“C’mon, baby. C’mon, baby. Right up there, you can do it.” I dug my nails into Kathryn’s arm. Dylan took the ball, grasped it in both his arms like a baby, and fell to the floor sobbing. He just could not shoot.The halftime buzzer honked. Silence on the court. All eyes on my little mess of a boy.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Prior to reading this book, had you ever heard of “mannies?” Do you think it makes a difference whether a child’s caregiver is male or female?

2. What was your opinion of Jamie at the beginning of the book? Did it change as the novel progressed?

3. What did you think of Jamie’s decision to hire Peter to help Dylan? Was Phillip’s negative attitude toward Peter justified?

4. Money plays an important–although divisive–role in many of the relationships in the book. What is Jamie’s attitude toward money? How does it differ from Phillip’s?

5. The novel opens a window into the lives of the über-rich of New York City’s Upper East Side. What did you learn about this subculture? Do you think that the book could have taken place in another locale? If so, where, and why?

6. “Just when I was convinced Phillip was a real monster, he would do something that would make me think that maybe I still could love him,” (page 17). What did you think of Phillip? Why do you think Jamie stayed with him as long as she did?

7. Were you surprised at Peter’s encounter with Ingrid in the linen closet? Did you realize it was him at first?

8. At Belvedere Castle, when Peter tries to tell Jamie he doesn’t believe Theresa Boudreaux’s story, why doesn’t Jamie listen?

9. At several points, Jamie admits that she’s intimidated by commanding men. Why? Does she finally get over her fear? How?

10. “I don’t buy that overused line about a woman’s job making her a better mother,” (page 100). What do you think is behind Phillip’s contempt for Jamie’s job? Why is her career a source of strife between them?

11. “I’m still trying to figure out if parents who are civil to each other, but not in love, are better than a separation,” (page 108). What do you think of this statement of Jamie’s? For the sake of their children, should an unhappy couple break up, or to try and fix their problems?

12. Why didn’t Jamie leave Phillip, especially after she caught him with Susannah? What would you do in her situation?

13. “You go crazy when I suggest you’re one of them….But then you play into it all,” (page 161). Is there truth to Peter’s assessment of Jamie?

14. Why do you think Jamie and her colleagues were so quick to believe Theresa Boudreaux's story? As members of the media, do you think they should have been more skeptical of her credibility, as well as wary of attempts by bloggers to make the mainstream media look bad? Do you think Jamie was the only person who deserved to lose her job when Theresa's deception was discovered?

15. What did you think of the book’s ending?

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun Read

    Good mindless reading. Filled with what you would expect, shady characters with outrageous personalities, snobbish socialites, wealthy materialistic amoral women, who wouldn't enjoy this story. Add an attractive manny to the mix and you have a great story. Reads faster than its 400 plus pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2010

    Skip It

    I was in the mood for a light, fun story so I listened to the e-book. I found the protagonist annoying and unlikeable along with her love interest. It started out okay but got worse and worse as the story progressed. Don't waste your time.

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  • Posted September 6, 2009

    The title got me and kept me!!

    I was intrigued by the title. I wasn't disapponted.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    Not Bad

    This was an okay listen for me. I have heard worse and of course better. The book held my attention. Usually, when I read or listen to a book I do not always expect a book to make sense as I see it because it is a book and I expect to be entertained. If I wanted a book to be serious and make great sense then I would go for non-fiction. If a book holds my attention and I can finish it then it is worth the read. I did not like the ending. There were places it could have been developed more and I would have liked to have known more as to how it all panned out in the end - rather than a little nibble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2009

    Easy read, not really worth it!

    This book was an easy read making for a nice sunday afternoon. However, I found the plot divices lacking and did not really sypathise with the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2009

    BORING!

    Boring, drawn out, and pointless dialogue between characters; A lot of the story revolved around Jamie's job when I thought the point of the story was the manny; Foul language that was pointless (as in, it wasn't used to convey feelings, just thrown into a sentence as an extra word); I didn't finish it because I became too bored but I could probably predict how it ended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    Hire the Nanny Instead!

    My Review of The Manny by Holly Peterson: It was only a matter of time. Once The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin came out, and Bridget Jones¿s Diary by Helen Fielding became popular, chick lit was in full swing. It was only natural that The Manny by Holly Peterson would be written. For those who enjoyed the shoes in Beth Harbison¿s Shoe Addicts Anonymous, or designer clothes in Lauren Weisberger¿s The Devil Wears Prada, one might enjoy this VERY light beach read. Although it is a somewhat weaker copycat, it might bring a smile or two to moms who find the summer months their biggest dread as schools close! Jamie Whitfield is a part-time working mother of three children ranging from two to nine years old. Her job as a busy news producer as well as being part of the Manhattan Mom¿s scene, with a successful attorney husband who is absent a great deal and let¿s just say, not a ¿hands-on helper¿, has Jamie at the end of her rope. Jamie, who is a transplanted Midwesterner, finds the adjustment to the New York scene a constant battle. With her eldest, nine-year-old Dylan, showing more and more signs of withdrawal to the point of being motionless at times, Jamie thinks a male role model would do him some good. Husband Phillip, concerned with supporting his family in the style he thinks they need and are accustomed to where his income of more than a million dollars annually just gets them by, CERTAINLY can¿t give up his time to sit with Dylan and see what makes him tick. As a workaholic himself, Phillip can¿t imagine someone, especially his own son, having problems that would result in anything not productive. Phillip does give us a glimpse of the man Jamie fell in love with and who deep down loves his children every once in a while, but the times are too few and far between. It is at this point, as things with Dylan get worse, that Jamie decides that a male role model, rather than a nanny, would be the answer. So she seeks out a ¿manny¿. Being in this class of privileged people where buying something can surely solve anyone¿s problems, Jamie is optimistic that finding the right manny will solve her problems. And so, we meet Peter Bailey. He is 29 years old and looking for funding for his software business. Peter seems to like children and is kind and very intelligent. It also doesn¿t hurt that he is very good looking! The fact that Peter is attentive to Jamie as well as he appreciates and respects her, are all things in Peter¿s favor. So, Jamie hires Peter and the ¿nanny of the male persuasion¿ starts his job! One doesn¿t have to be a genius to anticipate that Jamie and Peter will become attracted to each other. That along with subplots concerning Jamie¿s hot news report she is working on involving an affair of a prominent congressman, and the way the rich are living their superficial lives, moves the story line along as would be expected. Some complications can only help add to the rather predictable plot. The story of course is fictional and rather cliché as it talks about how people in these situations can get into trouble when letting the wrong priorities take over their lives. So will the manny be Jamie¿s answer to not only Dylan, but also her unfulfilling marriage? Will we find that Jamie can find happiness with a real man whether he has money or not? That is something you do have to read to find out about!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Loved it!!!

    I SO enjoyed this book. The dialog was funny yet had a serious undertone. Rich people ARE a bit overboard and the competition is fierce! Peter, the Manny, was very charming...everything a woman, rich or poor would totally want in a man! I love the way he analyses Jamie's life and confronts her with it, showing her how truly rediculous her lifestyle is. I loved the ending and how everyone got what they deserved...it brought a tear to my eye. READ THIS BOOK...you WON'T be disappointed! Heck, the title alone, is what drew me to it! Oh, and if this is ever made into a movie, I picture Ryan Gosling as the part of 'The Manny'...he's about as smooth and charming as they come!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    Shallow and predictable

    This book was predictable and filled with shallow, insipid characters--with the heroine, Jamie Whitfield topping the list. I found it interesting that the author found it necessary to remind her readers over and over again that Jamie is a woman with solid mid-western values. Of course, she had to do this because there was simply nothing in Jamie's behavior or commentary throughout the novel that suggested she was anything but the same shallow type of upper-crust person she denigrates throughout her story. Apparently if you roll your eyes and moan and groan about bad behavior, even if you do the same, it excuses you from actually being guilty. In comparison to her childish spoiled husband, Jamie is a bit more likeable, but not enough to make me want to route for her. Examples? She feels hurt when her socialite friends insult the way she dresses, but then she does the same to her buddy at work. She remains close friends with a couple of extremely self-centered friends who seem to enjoy sniping at each other at every opportunity. Almost from the very start of hiring Peter, she is flirting and showing off to him, eager for something to happen. 'And it is only quite a ways into the book that she informs the reader that she has been considering asking her husband for a divorce that same year--what a coincidence!!!' Additionally, if she wants to set a good example for her children she shouldn't be chasing down a sexually lurid story about an allegedly errant congressman. When it blows up in her face, I can't honestly feel sorry for her. To be fair, however, I should have known better when I picked up this book. I do like to mix up my reading list and after reading a wonderful psychological thriller, this title suggested a light and simple read. I just didn't expect something so trite. If you go in for this type of genre, you'll probably be okay with it, but for anyone else, I'd pass on buying it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    A snooze

    Although I enjoyed some of the descriptions of wealthy NYC life, I found this book to contain shallow predictable characters and little surprise or charm. Skip it for sure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2007

    Horrible, just horrible

    My book club were very disappointed in this book. We wanted something light for the summer, but dragging through this book was drudgery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2007

    Loved it!

    Couldn't put it down!

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    SUPERB NARRATION OF CHICK LIT WITH A TWIST

    Life in Minneapolis never approached life today for 36-year-old Jamie Whitfield. One might say she married 'up.' (Of course, that's in the eye of the beholder.) What she did was marry a wealthy lawyer, Philip, who spends an inordinate amount of time each morning selecting from among his $250 custom-made shirts. Her home is an apartment in the sky high dollar area of Manhattan, which really isn't too much trouble to keep up as she has full-time help. Jamie also has a demanding job as a news producer, and she has Dylan, a nine-year-old son who is evidently in need of strong male support, which Dad isn't inclined to give. Early on we hear of one more failure in young Dylan's very rock strewn road of life. There's a school basketball game in which he doesn't want to participate, but there he is among his teammates from St. Henry's School for Boys. He's on the floor when the ball is in his hands and he has a clear shot. Jamie knows that making that shot would rock Dylan's world. We hear her voice shouting: ''C'mon, baby. C'mon, baby. Right up there, you can do it.' .............. Dylan took the ball, grasped it in both his arms like a baby, and fell to the floor sobbing. He just could not shoot.The halftime buzzer honked. Silence on the court. All eyes on my little mess of a boy. ' When she recounts this debacle to Phillip the next morning, he assures her that Dylan will be fine, says 'Enough with Dylan,' and urges her to look at his new shirts. What's a concerned mom to do? Jamie does what all of her neighboring mothers do - she hires a manny (a male nanny) whom she hopes will provide Dylan with the required companionship, example, and emotional support. Peter Bailey does all of the above and more. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what will soon happen between Jamie and Peter. Those who enjoy hearing about the ways and meanness of the upper, upper crust will thoroughly enjoy listening to The Manny with an expert narration by Karen Ziemba. She relates the favorite game of the rich, one upmanship, with affecting slyness. Her take on the catty comments of some of the 'ladies' is perfection. Ms. Ziemba skillfully alters tone as she moves from those who were born on the Upper East Side and 'had never touched a door knob in their lives' and Jamie. A lower tone for Dylan and a gruffness for Coach Robertson showcase her performing abilities. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2007

    Not what the hype indicated

    It just was not funny to me at all and I loaned it to a friend who has different taste in reading than I do and she returned after 100 pages and said she didn't care to finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2007

    Man Oh Manny

    The author has an engaging and wickedly funny eye for detail, I loved this book. The story kept me amused and entertained, and the ending surprised me. The Manny is a great ride, and filled with insight into the Park Ave MILF set. I recommend this book and suggest it for book clubs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2007

    I loved it

    I loved this book. I thought it was a fun easy to read book for the summer. For those who enjoy reading about the upper class and their struggles that they have that some of us could only wish we had, I thought it was a fun read. I could not put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2007

    BORING !

    This book was listed under best sellers at my local library so I thought I would try it. Not interesting at all. Don't waste your time with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    Weel, I have high hopes for the book, but after 30 pages, knew what was going to happen, Rich wife falls for her Manny, and so on and so on, skip it unless someone gives it to you

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An amusing tale

    Thirty six tears old Jamie Whitfield and her lawyer spouse Phillip raises three children on exclusive Park Avenue in Manhattan. She also works part-time as a producer for a news program. However, though the Whitfields seem to be living the American dream, she is worried about her troubled nine year old son Dylan, whose father is never home and lacks an older male role model. Though it disturbs her Middle America upbringing to pay for a man, Jamie has adjusted to the lifestyle of the rich and famous in which all problems are solved by throwing money at it.---------------- She hires almost thirty Peter Bailey to be the MANNY, ¿a nanny of male persuasion¿ to help raise the kids especially Dylan. However, Peter obtains funding for his software business so he can quit the demeaning position, but does not. He is attracted to his employer and believes she reciprocates, but wonders whether she will act on her desires especially when she is chasing down a news story that could make her career if she stays faithful.----------------- This amusing tale lampoons the hypocrisy of some of the affluent who complain when the government spends money on problems, but resolve personal issues by spending money on them. Surprisingly even with the Manny and his employer fully developed and fun to follow their antics, the tale is stolen by her spouse whose temper tantrums over nothings seem more like a two year old used to getting his way. Holly Peterson provides a fabulous look at the changes in the individuals of a wealthy Manhattan family once they have their own male Poppins join them.----------------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2007

    Very Disappointed!!!

    This book was featured in the Style section of the New York Times and it seemed like it would be an entertaining read so I picked it up. Wow, what a disappointment!! The characters are tired and predictable. You know what's going to happen within the first 15 pages. A dull read: don't waste your money!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews

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