Saturday, June 25, 2011

Invisible Nannies Hiding in Plain Sight

Book Review of The True Nanny Diaries

Over the past two-weeks have been discussing the pros and cons of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (CDWBR). As we discuss nanny rights there is no better time to look inside the lives of many immigrant domestic workers. I highly recommend adding The True Nanny Diaries by Bianca Jacobs, aka Nandi, to your summer reading list.

Nandi, as she prefers to be called, is a Caribbean American migrant and former babysitter that gives us an intimate look inside the lives of Caribbean nannies across the U.S. who are helping to raise the children of many Caucasian Americans.

Nandi, told the Daily Caribbean Diaspora News that was inspired to write the novel, because of "the complexity and diversity of the experiences of the women I met...since when other African-Americans, Caribbean immigrants, other people of color see these women, we see nothing beyond those black hands on the stroller handles!"

The New Yorker, whose parents were born in Trinidad and Tobago, said she too had that perception until she too "found myself pushing a stroller."

"Actually, I was embarrassed," said Nandi of the experience. "Not because the work wasn't honest, but I figured I was 'better' than this. But it was what I had to do."

Reflecting on her experiences, she reminisced that, "The first family I worked for was very nurturing, but I was struck by how guilty my boss felt that she had a black nanny caring for her little blond son."

"She told me once she felt that she was perpetuating slavery, I had to tell her to get over it. I really need the money."

The True Nanny Diaries encompasses life through the eyes and culture of illegal nannies from the Caribbean. Beyond the obvious, there was a subtly woven story of goals and dreams, and positive attitudes. It represents a lifestyle that many have heard about, yet few talk about. She tackles some deep, dark topics, but will inspire you with hope as well.

I highly recommend The True Nanny Diariesby Nandi and can't wait to read more from the author soon!

1 comment:

Ana said...

I'm going to order it on my Kindle tonight!