Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: The Diary of an American Au Pair

It's been a while since I completely finished a book. At first I had a hard time reading this one—not knowing why I was reading it until the end. It seemed as though there were little purpose for the book the whole time I was reading until about the last 20 pages.
But it was one of the "finding yourself" novels that most women can associate with.

"The Diary of an American Au Pair" was originally published by Marjorie Leet Ford under the title "Do Try to Speak as We Do."

It's understandable why they changed the name to something more attractive to the chic lit crowd.—although in the beginning the novel didn't seem to suit the traditional chic lit being a but more stodgy than most.

In the end, however, more and more details are told by the nanny Melissa, who the story is based around.

Melissa moves to England to be a nanny to escape a relationship with her fiance Tedward, who we know at once is not her top pick. Her new family's mother is dreadfully uptight, giving Melissa a hard time about everything and using niceties to get her to agree to do more work than she had originally agreed upon for less pay.

In the beginning Melissa finds everyone she comes in contact with her against her, but as time goes on, she makes friends with another nanny as well as some extended family, making life a bit more tolerable. But as she's having such difficulty as a nanny. She begins sending letters home to San Francisco, which are published.

When things become unbearable to Melissa in the end, the children tell her they understand if she leaves, but they have been thankful for her. She takes a sabbatical to think: Should she marry Tedward? What does she do about her English suitor Simon? Should she stay or take the full-time offer back home as a writer?

Sometimes getting away from your life, regardless of how nonsensical, can be what you need to determine the trajectory of your life—and at that moment being a nanny in a foreign land is what she needs to move on in life.

Worth the read.