Searching for Mary Poppins: Women Write About the Intense Relationship Between Mothers and Nannies

Searching for Mary Poppins: Women Write About the Intense Relationship Between Mothers and Nannies

by Susan Davis, Gina Hyams, Gina Hyams
     
 

With wit, sensitivity, and unflinching honesty, Searching for Mary Poppins brings together twenty-five of today’s leading woman writers—including Marisa de los Santos, Susan Cheever, Joyce Maynard, and Jacquelyn Mitchard—to explore the emotional minefield of mother-nanny relationships. From Daphne Merkin on the challenges of

Overview

With wit, sensitivity, and unflinching honesty, Searching for Mary Poppins brings together twenty-five of today’s leading woman writers—including Marisa de los Santos, Susan Cheever, Joyce Maynard, and Jacquelyn Mitchard—to explore the emotional minefield of mother-nanny relationships. From Daphne Merkin on the challenges of hiring a nanny after having been raised by one to Lauren Slater on her regret at having “given her mothering away,” the collection’s stunningly original pieces offer rare insight into the complex issues that emerge when a mother turns the care of her child over to a stranger. Raising questions that reach beyond money, race, class, and gender into the darkest areas of love and fear that a mother feels, this book ultimately provides hope, solace, and welcome perspective on this unique relationship.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Happy families may be all alike, but as it turns out, so are families that hire nannies. In this collection of 24 essays, Davis and Hyams have selected essays that examine the relationship between mothers and their child-care givers. "Employing a nanny is beyond a necessity," they assess. "It becomes a question of identity." The very nature of an anthology writers writing about their lives also leads to this collection's main problem: the vast majority of these mothers are looking for help while they stay at home to write. There are no CEOs who must desperately look for backup care when the nanny is sick, no blue-collar workers who must figure out how to make a living while still paying for child care. Each mother is trying anxiously to please both nanny and child. When the circumstances are exceptional, so are the essays, as Andrea Nakayama's story of the "manny" hired as her husband was dying, and Ann Hood's piece about the nanny who cared for her now-deceased daughter. Daphne Merkin's essay is the strongest, focusing on her own childhood experiences with a nanny. Mothers who hire nannies will certainly appreciate this anthology, but the complete story surely lies somewhere between The Nanny Diaries and this. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This collection of 24 commissioned essays covers the varied experiences these professional writers had with caregivers for their children. Editors Davis (senior producer, North Carolina Public Radio) and travel writer Hyams have done a remarkable job of pulling together writing mothers willing to bare their souls, revealing the joy, guilt, relief, and fear of employing a nanny (the issue of the privileged concept of hiring a nanny is not disregarded). The pieces, roughly divided into four sections, are well written, hauntingly honest, and thought-provoking, progressing from hiring a nanny to negotiating a relationship with this "other mother," dealing with tensions and with the end of the relationship. Woven throughout are universal themes class, work, family, and values but the contributors avoid preachy moralizing or sweeping generalizations. A foreword by Melissa Block (host of All Things Considered on National Public Radio) engages readers from the first page. With more and more families hiring nannies every year, this work will resonate with mothers around the country. Recommended for large public libraries. Erica L. Foley, Flint P.L., MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594630231
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/21/2006
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Davis (right) has worked in public radio for more than a decade and is currently a senior producer at North Carolina Public Radio/WUNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Gina Hyams is the author of several books on travel and the arts. Her work has also appeared in Newsweek, Salon.com, and San Francisco magazine.

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