Synopses & Reviews
Whats a Park Avenue working mom to do when her troubled son desperately needs a male role model and her husband is a power workaholic? If shes like Jamie Whitfield, the gutsy heroine of Holly Petersons astute new comedy of manners among the ill-mannered elite, she does what every other woman down the block does. She hires herself a manny. Peter Bailey is cool, competent, and so charmingly down-to-earth, hes irresistible. And with the political sex scandal of the decade propelling her career as a news producer into overdrive, and her increasingly erratic husband locked in his study with suspicious files, Jamie is in serious need of some grounding.
Peter reminds her of everything she once was, still misses, and underneath all the high-society glitz, still is. The question is: Will the new manny in her life put the ground back beneath her feet, or sweep her off them?
About the Author
Holly Peterson spent a decade as an Emmy award-winning producer at ABC news. Her work has been published in the New York Times
, Harpers Bazaar
, and Newsweek
, where she is now a contributing editor. She lives in New York City with her family and is working on her next novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
With a keen eye and biting wit, in The Manny
Holly Peterson tells the story of Jamie Whitfield, a Midwestern transplant who lives on Manhattans super-wealthy Upper East Side with her high-powered husband and their three children. Phillip, a lawyer, is rarely home, and Jamies oldest son is struggling with his fathers absences. With no other options for providing Dylan with the father figure he needs, Jamie hires Peter Bailey: a male nanny, or in the parlance of Park Avenue, a “manny.” Cool, competent, and compassionate, Peter has everything Dylan is looking for in a dad-as well as everything Jamie wants in a man. But as Phillip becomes more unpredictable and secretive, and with a major crisis looming at work, the last thing Jamie needs is to fall for the manny. Or is it?
Tina Brown calls The Manny “the funniest, sexiest ride in the limo lane since The Bonfire of the Vanities,” and this rollicking satire of manners, money, and mannies offers wicked laughs on every page, as well as plenty of topics ripe for discussion. The questions below are intended to assist your reading groups dialogue about The Manny.
1. Prior to reading this book, had you ever heard of “mannies?” Do you think it makes a difference whether a childs caregiver is male or female?
2. What was your opinion of Jamie at the beginning of the book? Did it change as the novel progressed?
3. What did you think of Jamies decision to hire Peter to help Dylan? Was Phillips negative attitude toward Peter justified?
4. Money plays an important-although divisive-role in many of the relationships in the book. What is Jamies attitude toward money? How does it differ from Phillips?
5. The novel opens a window into the lives of the über-rich of New York Citys Upper East Side. What did you learn about this subculture? Do you think that the book could have taken place in another locale? If so, where, and why?
6. “Just when I was convinced Phillip was a real monster, he would do something that would make me think that maybe I still could love him,” (page 17). What did you think of Phillip? Why do you think Jamie stayed with him as long as she did?
7. Were you surprised at Peters encounter with Ingrid in the linen closet? Did you realize it was him at first?
8. At Belvedere Castle, when Peter tries to tell Jamie he doesnt believe Theresa Boudreauxs story, why doesnt Jamie listen?
9. At several points, Jamie admits that shes intimidated by commanding men. Why? Does she finally get over her fear? How?
10. “I dont buy that overused line about a womans job making her a better mother,” (page 100). What do you think is behind Phillips contempt for Jamies job? Why is her career a source of strife between them?
11. “Im still trying to figure out if parents who are civil to each other, but not in love, are better than a separation,” (page 108). What do you think of this statement of Jamies? For the sake of their children, should an unhappy couple break up, or to try and fix their problems?
12. Why didnt Jamie leave Phillip, especially after she caught him with Susannah? What would you do in her situation?
13. “You go crazy when I suggest youre one of them….But then you play into it all,” (page 161). Is there truth to Peters assessment of Jamie?
14. Why do you think Jamie and her colleagues were so quick to believe Theresa Boudreaux's story? As members of the media, do you think they should have been more skeptical of her credibility, as well as wary of attempts by bloggers to make the mainstream media look bad? Do you think Jamie was the only person who deserved to lose her job when Theresa's deception was discovered?
15. What did you think of the books ending?