I was given this book over four years ago at a Bookcrossing meet up ( a really fun one at Bob's Big Boy in Burbank) and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since. I've been battling a terrible virus and decided that I needed a light read, so I plucked it off the shelf.
I rated Marjorie Leet Ford's The Dairy of an American Au Pair: A Novel four out of five stars, not because it's a great book, but I think for it's genre (definitely pulpy chick-lit) it was decent. It's a quick, fun read.
The story is told from the POV of Melissa, a twenty-something American, who loses her job and decides to take a position as an Au Pair to an English Couple. Melissa sets off to England with high hopes of finding herself and seeing a new country/ cultural immersion. She quickly learns that the family she is working for is a bit nutty and has different expectations for her time in England. Ultimately the book is about the relationships that she develops, in particular with the youngest daughter Claire and the old former nanny whom has worked for the family for years. I bought into most of the book, with the exception of Melissa's romantic encounters, which just didn't work for me and I thought held little relevance to the story. They should have been edited out.
I am dating a Brit, so I think that made me a bit partial to this story, as I found some of Melissa's cultural confusion to ring true. Two things that my boyfriend says, Melissa also encounters in the book. First, "what's for tea?". It took me forever to realize that tea means dinner and not actually having a cup of tea. The second, also related, "what's for pudding?". Pudding doesn't always mean Jello, it means dessert in a generic sense. This cracked me up when I read it in the book. The weird thing is, I have begun to think in terms of Tea and Pudding, because I hear my boyfriend say it every day.
This is a good beach read. It's mostly fluff, with a few insightful and serious chapters. Enjoyable.
Last note, I like the quote on the cover by one of my favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith - "Nannies and au pairs are the new anthropologists. Employers : beware of those amongst you taking notes. They might produce something as funny and observant as this book."