Zora seems perfect. She’s an enthusiastic caretaker, a competent house keeper, a great cook. And she wants the job, despite the fact that she won’t let her African American parents and brother know anything about this new career move. They expect much more from her than to use all that good education to do what so many Blacks have dreamed of not doing: working for White folks. Working as an au pair in Paris, France no less, was one thing, they could accept that. Being a servant to a couple not much older nor more educated, is yet another. Every adult character involved in this tangled web is hiding something: the husband is hiding his desire to turn a passion for comic books into a business from his wife, the wife is hiding her professional ambitions from her husband, the nanny is hiding her job from her family and maybe her motivations for staying on her job from herself.
Memorable characters, real-life tensions and concerns and the charming—in a hip kind of way—modern-day Park Slope, Fort Greene, Brooklyn setting make for an un-put-down-able read.
Read an Excerpt
ON paper Zora Anderson was a statistic. A cliché, really. Single. Age thirty. African-American. College dropout. Failure. But in real life, Zora Anderson had a lot to offer. “I am a good person,” she would often remind herself. It was a mantra she used to lift her spirits when she contemplated all of the things she’d meant to do with her life and thus far hadn’t gotten around to. It was what she remembered as she walked down a quiet tree-lined street on a warm, sunny day in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and tried to prepare herself for what she was about to do.... see more
Reading Group Guide
Questions for Discussion
1. While waiting for the bus on her first day as a nanny, Zora recalls that both of the families she worked for in Paris were White, so “why was she playing the race card now . . . [she tried] to recall a time when she’d ever been more hyperaware of being Black in a White world” (page 46). Why does Zora feel this way now when she didn’t previously? What circumstances have changed?
2. If Zora is so concerned with what her family and friends think about her becoming a nanny, why does she accept the Carters’ job offer?
3. “As the words tumbled out of her mouth, Kate wasn’t sure where they came from. It was like there was a script in her head and she was just reading the words” (page 57). Besides, when she’s explaining that she’s ready to return to work, are there other examples of Kate saying or doing things she thinks are “right” but are not necessarily how she feels? Can other characters relate?
4. Why does Brad initially maintain a dis see more