Minding Ben by Victoria Brown

18-year-old Grace is on her own, having left her native Trinidad for a new life in the US, but nannying for a wealthy family might not be the source of rescue she needs it to be.

Minding Ben‘s strength is in its depiction of the after-work lives of the Carribean women who take care of so many babies and toddlers in New York City. It’s weakness comes by hewing too closely to the Nanny Diaries dynamic of adorable kid with evil parents. I really hated how cartoonishly awful Miriam and Sol were–not only did they disregard Grace’s boundaries, they were racist as well. I see a lot of Carribean nannies here in Queens, hired by moms who are not wealthy and who don’t abuse them. I’d be just as interested in Grace’s story if the family she worked for were more recognizably human.

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