Sunday, April 17, 2011

Minding Ben ~ book review

Minding Ben is a book that I won through Library Thing's early review program.  The string that comes with me winning is that I agree to read and review the book.  Here's my review.

Minding Ben is the new Nanny Diaries, but this time it stars 18 year old illegal immigrant Grace from Trinidad.  It takes the reader into the world of West Indian childcare givers in New York City, working for mostly white families, and the politics of doing so.  Grace wants to attend college, and finding a family to sponsor her will solve her problem of being illegal and provide her with income to send home to her family still living in Trinidad.  She ends up finding a family who says that they will sponsor her as she watches their young son Ben.

Much like Nanny Diaries, the family that Grace works for is miserable.  The mother is an awful person who is overly demanding and lacks compassion entirely.  The father is slightly better than the mother, except for when he predictably hits on Grace.  The son, unlike the boy in Nanny Diaries, has a minor role.  I was surprised at this seeing as he is what I thought the book would center around.  He was a minor character to me.

I really wanted to like Minding Ben but although it satisfied my craving for chick lit, it left me disappointed.  Grace started out being really likable, but ended up being the same person as she started out.  I expected some kind of forward momentum concerning character development but was left with none.  What I thoroughly enjoyed was the dialogue between the West Indian caregivers.  There were distinguishable accents for those from Trinidad, Jamaica and other islands.  I could almost hear the women speaking to each other.  I just wish I had liked them more.

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