My Hollywood by Mona Simpson
(Vintage Contemporaries)

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A wonderfully provocative and appealing novel, from the much-loved author of Anywhere But Here and A Regular Guy, her first in ten years. It tells the story of two women whose lives entwine and unfold behind the glittery surface of Hollywood.

Claire, a composer and a new mother, comes to LA so her husband can follow his passion for writing television comedy. Suddenly the marriage—once a genuine 50/50 arrangement—changes, with Paul working long hours and Claire left at home with a baby, William, whom she adores but has no idea how to care for.

Lola, a fifty-two-year-old mother of five who is working in America to pay for her own children’s higher education back in the Philippines, becomes their nanny. Lola stabilizes the rocky household and soon other parents try to lure her away. What she sacrifices to stay with Claire and “Williamo” remains her own closely guarded secret.

In a novel at turns satirical and heartbreaking, where mothers’ modern ideas are given practical overhauls by nannies, we meet Lola’s vast network of fellow caregivers, each with her own story to tell. We see the upstairs competition for the best nanny and the downstairs competition for the best deal, and are forced to ask whether it is possible to buy love for our children and what that transaction costs us all.

We look into two contemporary marriages—one in America and one in the Philippines—and witness their endangerment, despite the best of intentions.

My Hollywood
is a tender, witty, and resonant novel that provides the profound pleasures readers have come to expect from Mona Simpson, here writing at the height of her powers.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Mona Simpson

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Simpson's work has been translated into fourteen languages. She is a recipient of the Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim grant and the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. Since 1988 she has taught at Bard College, where she is now the Sadie Samuelson Levy Professor of Languages and Literature. In 1996 she received a grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation and was selected as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists.
Published August 3, 2010 by Vintage. 433 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Hollywood

The New York Times

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As in “A Regular Guy” (which never made its central character’s work as a biotech entrepreneur believable), the vocations of Claire and Paul seem remarkably fuzzy: we never believe that Claire is a renowned composer who’s written a symphony, just as we never believe that Paul — who is not remote...

Aug 09 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

The New York Times

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Mona Simpson’s novel alternates between the perspectives of an American woman and her immigrant nanny.

Aug 05 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...


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Mona Simpson's new novel focuses on a group of wealthy Santa Monica mothers — juggling families, jobs and packed social calendars — and their immigrant nannies, who make it all work. Critic Jane Ciabattari says the novel is a resonant and timely observation about the gap between Hollywood's haves...

Aug 16 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

The Washington Times

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A novel about wealthy mothers and their nannies living in Santa Monica might suggest a glitzy glimpse into the lives of the rich and soon-to-be-famous.

Aug 20 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

Tampa Bay Times

And the habits they lost are what they crave from us.") There is plenty of humor to be found in such cultural misunderstandings, but Simpson also reveals the casual prejudices that define the tricky relationship between employers and employees.

Sep 11 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The other vantage point is Lola’s, the Filipina nanny who works as a live-in nanny for Claire and her husband Paul during the week when she takes care of  ”Williamo.”  Lola also has a second job on the weekends, taking care of the son of a friend of Claire and Paul’s.

Sep 12 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

Bookmarks Magazine

Narrated by both Claire and Lola, My Hollywood reveals some hard truths about wives, nannies, children, and the complexity of the modern American family.Knopf.

Aug 02 2010 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

A recent immigrant from the Philippines, Lola is here via the initial sponsorship of a cousin, though My Hollywood is not primarily concerned with her legal status so much as the brutal truth that in order to send home enough money to educate her five children into the professional class, Lola ha...

Jun 15 2011 | Read Full Review of My Hollywood (Vintage Contemp...

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