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How To Treat the Help?

Youll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen

Reviewed by Caitlin Flanagan
The Atlantic Monthly

"Twenty-five years ago I got fired. I had been employed as a thrice-a-week afternoon babysitter for the two-year-old daughter of a prosperous young matron, who used the free time to run errands or nap. I never met the little girl's father, but I talked to him regularly. At least once a week, usually more often than that, the phone would ring thirty minutes after my arrival, and he would give me a message for his wife: he was working late in the city and wouldn't be home for dinner. I would duly report these facts — often as an afterthought, while the wife was fishing in her purse for my pay — and she would take the news stoically, heaving a brave little sigh and nodding." Read the entire Atlantic Monthly review.

7 Responses to "How To Treat the Help?"

    bears June 27th, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Can't anyone write a book review these days without giving us their full autobiography??

    Mariana June 27th, 2006 at 10:11 am

    I'd just like to thank Caitlin Flanagan
    for one of the most fascinating articles I've ever read. I'd be hard pressed to single out one paragraph, or even one block out of the whole text as the most interesting, I loved it throughout. Thanks again!

    Cynthia June 27th, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    Caitlin, I had to look back at the byline to remember it was a book review I was reading. If Ms. Hansen's account of being a Hollywood nanny is so uninteresting compared to your own life or other books you have read on the topic,just say so. That should take less than 50 words. What about the book? I don't know what you are saying about the genre, except that you say it is narrow, and refer us to two books that were written over 40 years ago. I still don't know if you think that this book is worth the investment of my money or my time. Or at least if I should care about children, hiring nannies, or the Ovitz's and life in Hollywood in the '80's. I may not agree with you after having read the books you review, but I do care about the book review.

    Kathleen June 28th, 2006 at 6:51 am

    I'm not interested in reading the book reviewed but I would
    love to read more by Caitlin Flanagan. I loved her insight,
    her experience and her compassion for all involved.

    McBrick June 28th, 2006 at 7:22 am

    Ms.Flanagan,I'm not interested in your life story, just review the book next time.

    Bev Agee July 16th, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Flanagan's review. She is an excellent writer and the review was as fascinating as any short essay in THE NEW YORKER. She examined the world of "nannies" with perception, wit and compassion. I don't think I would buy the book she reviewed, but I'm glad I didn't miss her review.
    If she has anything published, I would like to know about it and read it. If she doesn't, she should certainly consider writing essays. Daisy Poet

    Frank Moher July 29th, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Obviously the book is of little merit (and exploitative to boot). If you need a reviewer to tell you that, you're not liable to appreciate Ms. Hansen's attempt to make a silk purse (her essay) of a sow's ear ("You'll Never Nanny in this Town Again.") Book reviews are just a symptom of consumerist culture. Ms. Hansen gives us something much better.


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