The good nanny : a novel /
Benjamin Cheever.
1st U.S. ed.
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2004.
278 p.
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New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2004.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-05-03:
The perfect nanny exposes the shortcomings of her not-so-perfect employers in this scathing satire by Cheever, author of the memoir Selling Ben Cheever and three previous novels (Famous After Death, etc.). Like a literary Nanny Diaries told from the perspective of the beleaguered parents, Cheever's tart tale skewers its protagonists' ambition, materialism, literary pretensions and sheltered lives. Stuart Cross and Andie Wilde, a sophisticated pair with interesting careers in Manhattan-Stuart is an editor at a prestigious small publishing house, and Andie has just been promoted to the "enviable but not entirely respectable position" of top film critic for the New York Post-have recently bought a huge house in the suburbs and hired a nanny, the estimable Louise Washington. Louise, who is "Miss Washington" to her employers but "Sugar" to nine-year-old Ginny and six-year-old Jane, is the ideal nanny (she reads Hilaire Belloc to her charges), but also frighteningly accomplished (she's an excellent painter) and threateningly black (her best friend is a nice guy who just happens to have spent some time in prison). Andie, feeling displaced, becomes more and more paranoid about the nanny's activities, while Stuart suffers a professional blow and is galled to learn that the Museum of Modern Art is interested in the nanny's paintings. Cheever is a remorseless observer ("Stuart turned to his girls. Ginny, his eldest daughter, the fat one, had a large stain on the front of her white blouse") and generally accurate social chronicler (though it seems unlikely that the refined Stuart would buy a house in a development called Heavenly Mansions). As this satisfying if sometimes stiflingly mannered morality tale builds to its startlingly violent conclusion, it becomes more than clear that it isn't the nanny Stuart and Andie should fear-it's their own selfish expectations. Agent, Kathy Robbins. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-07-01:
Jealousy and resentment over a new nanny wreak havoc in this black comedy by Cheever (Famous After Death). Stuart and Andie are a typical family living in a heavily mortgaged house in the suburbs. Since they are both busy career people with demanding, high-profile jobs, they decide to hire a nanny to look after their two daughters. Louise is the perfect choice. She's a natural with children, a wonderful cook, and a cultured painter who loves to take the children to the museum. At first, Andie and Stuart are enamored of the nanny, but when she takes care of the children too well, Andie becomes nervous and untrusting. Stuart dismisses her misgivings as just separation anxiety until a series of unfortunate events, fueled by miscommunication, leads to a shocking confrontation with disastrous results. Biting humor and witty dialog create a satirical tone that complements a ludicrous, disturbing story. This black comedy first appears light and carefree and then packs a wallop, before wrapping everything up in an uneven, lopsided ending. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Kellie Gillespie, City of Mesa Lib., AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, May 2004
Chicago Tribune, July 2004
Library Journal, July 2004
New York Times Book Review, July 2004
USA Today, July 2004
Booklist, August 2004
Boston Globe, August 2004
Globe & Mail, November 2004
New York Times Book Review, February 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
From the acclaimed author of "Selling Ben Cheever" comes a searing black comedy about nannies and parents, publishing and prejudice, and the not-so-gentle art of ambition.
Main Description
A searing black comedy about nannies and parents, publishing and prejudice, and the not-so-gentle art of ambition. The new nanny is perfect. A natural with children, a whiz in the kitchen, and a talented painter, the only thing Miss Washington can't seem to do is make a mistake. But when Stuart Cross loses his editing job and decides to write the great American novel, the nanny's excellence quickly becomes a sore spot. Stuart, paralyzed by writer's block, envies her impending artistic success; his wife Andie doesn't trust her and wishes she could stay home with their daughters; and on top of that, even a mention of the nanny's old boyfriend, ex-con Toussaint, makes the local police uneasy. The heightening jealousy and resentment that the parents feel toward their surrogate sets into motion a chain of unexpected events and surprising reversals that will end, less than a week later, in a suspected kidnapping, a half-million-dollar book deal, and the unpleasant question of just who, exactly, the guilty party is.

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