Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: The Au Pair

Author: Janey Fraser
Publication Date: July 19, 2012
Publisher: Arrow

Dawn needs someone to take her horrendous children off her hands. Paula is desperate for help so she can keep her sanity during the summer holidays. Matthew, whose wife died a year ago, is trying to get his life back on track, but with a small daughter to look after, he can't do it alone. And Jilly needs a job that she can do at home so she can look after her children. Setting up an au pair agency seems to be the perfect solution to everyone's problems.

But is it? If Jilly thinks it’s difficult to juggle her children, the au pairs and the needs of the families she sends them to, it's nothing compared to the trouble that's caused when one of the au pairs finally discovers the truth about the father she's been searching for.
With a cast of characters drawn straight from real life, "The Au Pair" takes a hilarious look at what happens when an au pair takes over your family.

There is so much color and so many things happening on the front cover. You really have to pick up the book and analyze what all the characters are doing. After viewing the title you can see that in the bottom right hand corner the girls standing around talking hold backpacks are meant to be the au pairs. It looks to be such a quaint little town and you faintly make out the spread of the city in the background. Such charming cover art to grab the reader’s attention. I always like to see a beautiful and well put together cover!

This was the first novel that I had read by Janey Fraser and I came to find that she really does have a talent for writing several unique and witty characters. I have always admired authors like Janey who can write several different story lines into one book and still be able to manage them all. This book is filled with action, love, and heartbreak. Janey writes about several households who are harboring foreign au pairs to help take care of their children. I loved all of the au pairs and how versatile each one was. Being an American myself, I am always fascinated with foreign countries as well as their languages and traditions. One au pair was from France, another Bulgaria, and even one from Norway. The language barrier added a comical pretense to the book as well. I did have a hard time at first keeping up with all of the different characters. You really have to pay attention at first, but after that you can start to get the hang of things.

I had two favorite characters in this book. The first was Marie-France who was an au pair. Marie-France is a daring girl who came to Corrywood not just to be an au pair, but to also find the father that she never knew as a child. I often felt sorry for Marie-France and especially when she first came to be an au pair because Dawn, the lady she was employed by, was not a very nice person. Marie-France was in a strange place and struggling with the language so my heart often went out to her. She was a girl who simply wanted answers about her past. I just wish that more of the story would have focused on her because she was such a well-written character and one that any reader would take an immediate liking to.

My next favorite character was Jilly who actually started the au pair agency. Jilly was a stay at home mom whose husband had recently be demoted in his job and money was becoming scarce in their household. Jilly was the mother of three boys and she worked so hard to be the best mom that she could be. She started the au pair agency in order to both earn money and to be able to stay at home with her boys where she knew she needed to be. She put herself on the line for the well-being of her children and this, of course, is what any good mother should and would do. Not to mention her boys were wild and often breaking things and they were one of the most humorous things about the story. I can always admire characters like Jilly who really have to struggle and can still come out on top!

I have always wondered what it would be like be a Nanny or an Au Pair and I have often thought about it trying it while I am finishing up my college years. After reading this book I gained a whole new and developed respect for anyone who is a Nanny or an Au Pair. It takes such patience to work with other people’s children and especially to live with them in their home. These Au Pairs are asked to pick up and move to a foreign country and adjust their lives to fit the schedules and tendencies of another family. At times I did not like the jumping around of families and trying to keep up with all of the characters but there were certain times that I was so into the story that it did not bother me. At almost 600 pages it was a lot to take in but in the end proved to be worth it! A well written story with quite a lot of thought behind it!

***A huge thanks to the author, Janey Fraser, for providing me with a copy of her book***

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the book is huge! I can see why with so many characters to follow though. I think this is an interesting one, I've always wondered what it would be like to be an au pair (my friend actually did it one summer and went to Australia, she is still in contact with the family). This definitely sounds like a fun read but seems quite hefty.