Fiction Holly Peterson The Manny

ISBN 13: 9780007233021

The Manny

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9780007233021: The Manny

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 ground back beneath her feet, or sweep her off them?

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Review:

Guest Reviewer: Plum Sykes
Plum Sykes burst onto bookshelves in 2004 with her internationally-acclaimed bestseller Bergdorf Blondes, a novel in which she spotlighted the lives of New York’s Park Avenue Princesses. Born in London and educated at Oxford, Sykes is a contributing editor at Vogue, where she writes on fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair magazine. Her latest novel is The Debutante Divorcee.

"If you want to see rich people act really rich, go to St. Henry’s School for Boys at 3p.m. on any weekday." Or you could just read Holly Peterson’s debut novel, The Manny. The first line of this rather delicious story sets us up for what is to come: a satire of money, marriage, men and mannys. ("The Manny" of the title is actually a male nanny, just another parenting trend for Manhattan’s uber-rich.)

Peterson’s heroine is Jamie Whitfield, a middle class girl from middle America who, supposedly, married well. She works as a news producer and it is through her that we get an inside peek at Manhattan’s silly rich. In Peterson’s well-drawn world, Whitfield and her hotshot lawyer husband, Philip, inhabit a specific area of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, dubbed ‘The Grid’. Although Jamie fell hard for Philip when they were in their twenties, little did she realize she was marrying a man who thinks making a million or so a year means he is poverty-stricken, whose personal vanity knows know bounds and whose preferred reading material is books with titles like How To Raise Children in an Affluent Environment.

With the ghastly husband getting more revolting by the second, her son Dylan losing his confidence, and Jamie’s work going wrong, it’s not long before Peter Bailey, a thirty year old manny--who also happens to be outrageously sexy--enters the fray. Now, there is nothing more amusing than the posh girl falling for The Help, but upright Jamie holds out--for pages and pages and pages--determined not to cheat on her husband. But when Jamie discovers another Alpha Mom has seduced Peter in her linen closet during a play date, it seems only a matter of time before the inevitable happens.

Peterson has a keen eye for the zeitgeist. She describes the world of the hedge-fund billionaires and their excessive desires with sharp precision and a steely honesty. She takes us to their children’s lavish birthday parties, explores the exact kind of fringing their cushions require and even kindly translates their slang for us: "its wheels up at three" actually means "my private plane takes off at three o’clock". Though the detail of such an extreme lifestyle could become suffocating, at its heart the book has a more human crisis to explore--a marriage in jeopardy. The fun comes with the love affair with the Manny. It’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover for the beach.

About 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.

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