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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Hollywood by Mona Simpson

I checked out this book, thinking it would be a light chick-lit read for the holidays.  It ended up being a little more entertaining and poignant than I thought it would be.  I listened to the library audio version of this book and now I highly recommend it.  It's possibly not for most men, or those who only want to read seriously gritty stuff, but I think a lot of women of all ages would like this book, especially the audio version.  The voices you hear are Lola's lilting Filipino accent, and the slightly "dude" California drawl of the white couples.  Lola, an upstanding older Filipina, is the main voice, and she is the thread that connects all the other characters, including the couples who hire nannies to raise their children.  When you read this book, you step unmistakably into California, with its preoccupied blondes and it's ambitious young men who work behind the scenes of television shows.  Thankfully, we can somewhat identify with one of the white women, Claire, who still has some redeeming qualities, despite the almost complete absence of her driven husband.  The heart of this book though, lies in the way we get to see the world through the eyes of the immigrant nannies, especially Lola, who is a rock of stability for the children she cares for, and the few employers who are smart enough to see her true worth, in the end.  Even if you've read "The Nanny Diaries" or "The Help" you will find something a little different here, maybe a new way to understand part of the price paid by the immigrant nannies who raise many children in this country.  Also interesting is the separate society the nannies have, as they create a family together while far away from home.