24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I felt a little guilty buying this book, but it looked like it may be a fun look into the life of the "so rich, you can't believe how they live" people, so I bought a copy for myself, my sister and my neice. It is a fast, funny read, and I don't think the writer was mean like some of the other reviewers thought. I did think halfway through the book, how sad these people have so much, and such great opportunites, and they seem so darn unhappy. I also felt so sorry for the children, not having there parents there for them all the time....It was so nice when the nanny moved on and we were able to read about some Hollywood families whose children are not raised by just the nanny.
Anyway, it was a light, fast read, and kept my interest.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book! I took it on a layover with me, (Yes, I serve cokes for a living...while trapped in a steel cigar -I'm a Flight Attendant) and I couldn't put it down. It took me away from the fact that I work two jobs and still have a family to cook and clean for when I get home, and that I do it all with no help. (Or 'staff'...as Suzanne puts it.) And for just a while, I lived in Suzanne's shoes as she found out how, 'the other side lives'. I couldn't put the book down. If you like reading about one person's hilarious experiences with the Rich and Powerful in Hollywood, then you'll love this book. What I especially loved about this particular book is the juxtapostion of Suzanne's naive wide eyed inocence and her wry observations. She comes across as endearing and shocked at how 'the other side' lives. This book is a perfect book for a mom stuck at home, who needs a 'fun fast hilarious read'. I'm going to tell all my Flight Attendant friends to get this book! And hey, my other job is being an author, so I know a good book when I read one! OK! From both sides of the beverage cart! smile.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2006
Several times in this book, the author makes note of how people she grew up with described her as a judgemental busybody. Which must be true, because otherwise this book wouldn't exist. The events described must have taken place prior to 1988 - since the production of Danny Devito's "Twins" is near the end of the book - which means it took almost twenty years for her to write this??? Why this? Why now?
Her time as nanny to the Michael Ovitz family takes up the bulk of her story - and she proceeds to take apart every aspect of this notoriously publicity-shy mogul's private life in what seems to be a vendetta against his attempt at blackballing her further employment in Hollywood. There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy going on here as she uses her country-gal act as a holier-than-thou bludgeon against what is obviously a completely unhappy disfunctional family. Although she passingly takes responsibility for her half of a weird employer-employee relationship - she never takes the time off she's alloted until the family grows to depend on her being there around the clock, she fails to stand up for herself, and she fears Mrs. Ovitz although the woman seems infinitely more fragile and screwed-up than the author - she still makes it plain her misery is on their shoulders. Then, even when she's working for her "nice" Hollywood employers (Debra Winger, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman), she still complains when other nannies are getting more perks than she is. My favorite part is when Devito and Perlman take her to a luxury hotel in Hawaii and she empties the mini-bar, watches pay movies continuously and makes incredibly long distance calls on their dime - and then feigns innocence over not knowing that everything was going to cost so much money (for the record, DeVito didn't really care). In short, she makes herself sound as shallow, petty and bizarre as the people she's making fun of. And if she loves her country life so much - why is she trying so hard to make it in Hollywood????
And I'm pretty darn sure that "Goldberg" is Spielberg. But I could be wrong.
Having gotten all that out of my system, I will say that there are a lot of funny anecdotes about life in the land of the absurdly rich and famous and this is a breeze to read. It's a good story - I just wish there was a more self-aware interesting person to tell it.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2006
This book was so well written, it was as if I was there living with Suzanne Hansen and sharing all of her experiences. I too wondered if Judy Ovitz liked her and my heart broke with her good-bye to Brandon. This book was so fun. I laughed and cried and truly found myself grateful that I don't have all the things the famous people have to worry about. Suzanne really cared for these children and it was great to hear all of her stories. I could not put this book down. It is a must read. I am really in disagreement with the review that spoke about her just whining, I did not get that impression at all, and even though she spoke of some awful experiences with the Ovitz's she also spoke of how beautiful Judy was and how good Michael had been to her many times. This book was very funny, heartwarming and entertaining. I really recommend getting this book and reading it right away!!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I was happy when reading this book to hear about the GOOD Hollywood mothers, of which Hansen meets a fair amount. But it is really troubling to hear about the less good ones, especially because every time you open a magazine, you hear one of them quoted about their mothering skills and making it sound like they know something you don't. Like the author, I would LOVE to have some of them admit how much help they get. That is one of the things I loved the most about Brooke Shield's book on her PPD---how much credit she gave her baby nurse. I remember once reading an article about some Hollywood mother saying how important it was to her to raise her own children, and saying how she had made it a policy never to leave her daughter for more than TWO WEEKS---her daughter was TWO! I would not leave my two year old for much more than 2 hours!
Some people seem to think that this book is unwarrented because the Ovitz were occasionally generous with Hansen. They are totally missing the point. It's not how they treated Hansen---it's how they treated their children---not even spending the money to talk to them which on vacation, NEVER putting the baby to bed, etc. Who knows if it's all true, but I am sure it's often true of rich parents (and of some poor ones, too)
I did think the book could be better edited. The parts about Suzanne's boyfriend were not really much tied to the rest, and I would have liked to know more about her life after nannying, but overall, this is certainly worth a read!
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
What's a girl to do when she's about to graduate from high school and hasn't a clue about the future? That's frustrating and also embarrassing as a listing of the seniors' after graduation plans were posted in the school hallway. Suzanne Hansen didn't want white space after her name so she enrolled in nanny school. She put NNI after Hansen on the roster and hoped it would be thought of as a college rather than Northwest Nannies Institute.
Nannying seemed like a good choice. Hansen loved children and she had been babysitting for as long as she could remember. After all, there hadn't been a great deal to do in Cottage Grove, Oregon, "where the highlight of a typical resident's week was bingo at the Elk's Lodge." Now, she would soon be off to Portland, home of the Institute. Little did she know that after four months she'd be winging it to Tinseltown where she would interview with people who had more money than she knew existed and win a job as nanny for super agent Michael Ovitz, arguably the most powerful man in Hollywood. Once on staff she quickly learned that nannying for the stars wasn't as heavenly as she had imagined.
Evidently the prospect of such a glamorous existence dulled Hansen's senses as she forgot NNI's cardinal rule, which was to have a written agreement about the salary, hours and overtime rates before accepting a position. Thus, she found herself working 24/7 with no overtime.
Truth be told, mxing Hansen with Michael and Judy Ovitz and their three offspring was a bit like trying to blend oil and water. Almost from day one Hansen was convinced that Judy didn't like her and that there was nothing in the world she could do to win favor. Eldest child Josh didn't like her either and was given to tantrums, while middle child Amanda seemed to be aping her brother's demeanor.
For the first few months the sheer excitement of picking up the phone and hearing the voice of Bill Murray or Dustin Hoffman or Tom Cruise buoyed Hansen's homesickness and workload. But, eventually, she decided that she had to leave the Ovitzes, hopefully for a more sanguine, less demanding household. She soon discovered that no one just left Ovitz or as it was put "inconvenienced" him. She found herself blackballed by the mightiest of the mighty in La-La-Land. Reading that Paul Newman had once described Ovitz as "a cross between a barracuda and Mother Teresa," she totally agreed.
Eventually, she found a place with Debra Winger who had also jumped the Ovitz ship. Her tenure there, while enjoyable, was short lived as Winger wanted to be a real hands-on mom. Next, Hansen nannyed for Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. She loved them both, found them to be down-to-earth, thoughtful, and kind. However, Hollywood had taken its toll on her and she wanted to go back home. A Mary Poppins she was not.
If you're looking for some really hot skinny in this "tell-all," you'll be disappointed. We do learn that Tom Cruise's real name is Mapother, that Debra Winger didn't enjoy working with Richard Gere, and that Goldie Hawn leads her kids in sing-a-longs on plane trips.
Hansen kept a journal so what readers will find is a day by day account of a nanny's life among the rich and catered to. It's a breezy read plus entree to some of Hollywood's plushest mansions as well as the author's take on those who dwell within.
- Gail Cooke
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2008
The author is not a particularly insightful teenager as she shares her perspective of the families she works for. Sadly, the life lessons she learns are all about criticism of other's foibles and little about her own growth and maturity. During the course of her adventures, she acquires more scorn for others than insightful understanding of them. Her examples of poor judgement by her employers are too simplisticly told and blatantly egregious to be credible. One suspects there is another side of each story which would have been nice to hear before passing judgment. While her naive voice may be "refreshing" as her publisher claims, the writing is not particulary articulate or artful. Without the celebrity names, this book would simply not have sold. Since Suzanne so decries the exploitation of nannies by their famous employers, one would hope that she would have developed the scruples not to sink to vengeful exploitation of their celebrity. This leads the reader to find her an unsympathetic narrator, one it is difficult to like or admire. To add insult to injury, she does not even impress us as a particulary talented childcare professional. Where is the joy and magic of teaching and encouraging her young charges? The best judges of her character are perhaps Amanda and Joshua, the children she tends for the Ovitz family. Plain and simple, intuitively they do not like her. Out of the mouths of babes...
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2006
I am currently a nanny for two well known people in Hollywood. Suzanne Hansen could not have written a more poignant book, describing my current situation precisely. I couldn't help but laugh at the accurate descriptions of personalities and dysfunctional relationships. Every nanny in Hollywood, who has worked for a high-powered celebrity, has a similar story. The only difference is, Suzanne didn't sign a confidentiality agreement. Excellent book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I found this an enjoyable book with insights into how the other half live. What I found nearly shocking is that the author used real names of recognizable people.
There are a number of books of this type out and I've read several and found this one to have less of the victim syndrome. Her perspective comes from someone who was introduced to the Hollywood environment of the rich and famous as an employee. As a result, her audience can probably relate to her viewpoint since she's giving us a peek into a place most of us will know about only secondhand through books like this.
The author wrote the story in a way that made me be able to relate to and sympathize with her situation without seeming to distort it or make her employers seem like monsters - and making some of them look good. Her admission of mistakes and even misdeeds (eating Rhea Perlman's cookies and lying about it) prevented her from seeming righteous or blameless and ultimately more believable. I particularly enjoyed her thought of what her first employers would do if they had real problems (after sweating profusely over the very small stuff).
Bottom line, it was a fun and entertaining book and provided some insider opinions of people most of us read about in People Magazine. It just goes to show you that what our mothers told us is true - money doesn't buy happiness.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
I came away from this book feeling bad for the children. I just don't think its right to have their early childhood and their parents personalities dredged up for book sales just because there was no signed confidentiality contract. I somewaht sympothize with Suzy's experience but I also dind't see the purpose. The book was not thta enthralling.
I'd also like to point out that she stated that she changed the children's names. I want to know what good did that do? She kept the parents name the same.