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THE MANNY by Holly Peterson


by Holly Peterson

Pub Date: June 19th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-385-34040-3
Publisher: Dial

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.