Just before I headed off to England for a quick visit on June 29th I spent four days in my studio narrating the audio book of “What the Nanny Saw” by Fiona Neill author of the NY Times bestseller “Slummy Mummy” and the popular Sunday Times column of the same name.
Amongst other things, Neill’s witty, disturbing, engaging new novel shines a bright light on the financial crisis. The story is told from the point of view of a nanny hired look after the four children of a successful, uber-wealthy London couple who may well have been responsible for the crash of 2008.
To be honest, until I narrated this novel, I’d never completely understood the how’s and why’s of the financial crisis. What exactly is the Dow anyway? And why do people I don’t know get so excited about it?
I do know people who had jobs, savings, houses and annual vacations at the beginning of 2008 who were forced to deal with foreclosure, anxiety and debilitating depression less than three years later. And I did know that this had something to do with the banks and greed and Freddy Mac and Frannie Mae – whoever they might be. But I was blurry on precisely how the actions of a few bankers in the City and on Wall Street had so dramatically affected the lives of millions of ordinary people on both sides of the Atlantic.
When I arrived in London two weeks ago, the newspapers were full of headlines about the latest Barclay’s bank scandal. The headlines could have come straight out of “What the Nanny Saw”. I laughed out loud in the airport lobby – not because I don’t care – I do – but because I’d literally only JUST finished narrating an insightful, well-written novel all about people behind this kind of thing.
This time, as I read about insider trading and the new financial crisis, I understood exactly what had happened. I had a strong sense of the kind of lives the bankers and their wives and children and nannies were leading too.
This time I got it. If you get a chance to listen to this one, you will too.