Married; children: three. Education: Brown University, B.A.
Home—New York, NY.
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., news producer.
The Manny (novel), Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2006, published as The Manny: (MAN-EE) N: 1. A Nanny of the Male Persuasion, Dial Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributing editor, Newsweek.
Holly Peterson is a writer and contributing editor with Newsweek. Her first book, The Manny, is a novel about a New York woman who hires a male nanny to care for Dylan, one of her three children, because he is suffering from the absence of his father. Jamie Whitfield is a thirty-six-year-old television producer who lives with her very successful husband on Park Avenue. Jamie already has a nanny, a maid, and a driver, but she hires internet entrepreneur and snowboarder Peter Bailey, who takes the job while he waits for funding for his software company. He is warm and caring, and soon makes a difference in Dylan's life and in Jamie's.
Jamie is from the Midwest. "But," wrote Janice Harayda for the One Minute Book Reviews Web site, "she acts at times like as much of a snob as her friends. She scorns the clothes of a researcher for her TV show: ‘She was wearing one of her awful Ann Taylor suits from the last century—a cherry-red one.’ (She tells the woman, cruelly, ‘You look like an Avis car rental agent again.’) One problem with the jab is that in some Heartland cities—whose values Jamie is supposed to stand for—Ann Taylor stores are the most stylish in town."
Peterson has lived in New York City since childhood, and as Elisa Lipsky-Karasz noted in WWD, she is the daughter of billionaire Peter Peterson, cofounder of the Blackstone Group. Author Peterson attended private schools and has been part of the jet-set crowd of which she writes, and so has insights few others do. She lives on the Upper East Side with her husband and three children, and her sister-in-law is Wendy Finerman, the producer of The Devil Wears Pravda, a film about elite New York. With the publication of her first book, Peterson was guest of honor at parties from coast to coast given by celebrity friends that include George Stephanopoulos, Joel Schumacher, and Ralph Lauren.
She told Lipsky-Karasz that her father was thrifty and careful with money and that he put much of his earnings into foundations. Having grown up the son of Greek immigrants, he worked hard, but is now giving his money to good causes. On the other hand, Peterson spoke of some of her experiences with the rich, about which she has "taken notes for ten years about ridiculous over-the-top things people have said to me at drop-offs, at pick-ups, at dinner parties, at benefits. Some of those lines I put verbatim into my book and kind of wrapped a whole chapter around some fantastic comment or line—like ‘wheels up.’ I find it amazingly pretentious that people say, ‘Oh, you know, it's wheels up at 3’ [referring to takeoff time of their private jet]. I just want to smack them."
Jake Shapiro, a real-life manny, reviewed the book in New York, writing of Peter: "He is more like a cool guy for the kid to hang with than an actual caregiver. We don't see him making lunches, cooking dinners, or changing diapers. His entire relationship with Dylan isn't described in real time so much as recounted to Jamie after the fact. Meanwhile, we've got a love triangle, a political sex scandal, top-secret files, and an X-rated playdate." Shapiro praised Peterson for correctly portraying the job as different from that of nanny, since females typically must fit into a more narrow role, while males seem to have a different purpose in each family, sometimes as a father figure, other times as a brother. Shapiro concluded by writing that The Manny is "a chick flick begging to be made. Here's the pitch: ‘Sex and the City’ meets ‘Charles in Charge.’ Few guys are going to read The Manny or let's be honest, probably this article about it, either. But men, consider yourself warned: You're going to get dragged to the movie." Film rights to the book were purchased by Columbia Pictures and Red Wagon partners Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher.
"Peterson offers an amusing take on the mating habits of the Manhattan elite," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. "And while the story holds few surprises, it benefits greatly from an attractive pair of would-be lovers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2007, John Charles, review of The Manny, p. 21.
Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of The Manny, p. 8.
Bookseller, October 21, 2005, "The Manny to Harper," p. 13; February 16, 2007, review of The Manny, p. 12.
Daily Variety, October 17, 2005, Michael Fleming, "Col[umbia Pictures] Moves on Manny," p. 5.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of The Manny.
Library Journal, May 1, 2007, Amy Brozio-Andrews, review of The Manny, p. 74.
Marie Claire, July 1, 2007, review of The Manny, p. 106.
New York, June 25, 2007, Jake Shapiro, review of The Manny, p. 65.
Publishers Weekly, October 17, 2005, Jason Anthony, "The Man Who Rocks the Cradle," p. 10; March 26, 2007, review of The Manny, p. 64.
USA Today, May 3, 2007, Deirdre Donahue, review of The Manny, p. 07; June 19, 2007, review of The Manny, p. 6; June 19, 2007, Deirdre Donahue, "How the ‘Manny’ Came to Be," p. 6.
WWD, June 28, 2007, Eliza Lipsky-Karasz, "Nanny Diaries," interview, p. 10.
Holly Peterson MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/ (December 24, 2007).
Living,http://www.livingtv.co.uk/ (December 24, 2007), author interview.
One Minute Book Reviews,http://oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/ (June 26, 2007), Janice Harayda, review of The Manny.