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The Nanny Diaries Paperback – February 6, 2007
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The Nanny Diaries is an absolutely addictive peek into the utterly weird world of child rearing in the upper reaches of Manhattan's social strata. Cowritten by two former nannies, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the novel follows the adventures of the aptly named Nan as she negotiates the Byzantine byways of working for Mrs. X, a Park Avenue mommy. Nan's 4-year-old charge, the hilariously named Grayer (his pals include Josephina, Christabelle, Brandford, and Darwin) is a genuinely good sort. He can't help it if his mom has scheduled him for every activity known to the Upper East Side, including ice skating, French lessons, and a Mommy and Me group largely attended by nannies. What makes the book so impossible to put down is the suspense of finding out what the unbelievably inconsiderate Mrs. X will demand of Nan next. One pictures the two authors having the last hearty laugh on their former employers. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
A blistering satire based on the real-life experiences of former New York City nannies McLaughlin and Kraus, this hilarious examination of the upper echelons of Manhattan society and the unlovable Park Avenue X family is flawlessly complemented by Roberts's limber, metamorphosing vocal performance. Depicted by the Academy Award winner's detached, patronizing tone, Mrs. X, a housewife, has little more to do than spend her adulterous, workaholic husband's seven-figure salary on manicures, designer clothes and floral arrangements. She delegates the care of her bratty four-year-old son, Grayer, and other small "errands" (e.g., shopping for a 50-guest dinner party) to an NYU grad student, Nan. Highlighting the disparity between the decadent, insular world of the Xs against the underpaid, disrespected one of the hired help surrounding them works especially well in audio, as Roberts acutely captures neglected Grayer's temper tantrums, piercing whines, inconsolable cries of "I want my mommy" and the hesitant tones and broken English of his playmate's caretakers. When the babysitter's "level of commitment" to the job is questioned and a developmental consultant is called in to handle the "deleterious self-esteem adjustment" her charge may have been set up for after failing to make it into a prestigious school, Roberts conveys Nan's struggle through readings alternately sarcastic, angry and falsely cheerful. This is a witty and thoroughly enjoyable production.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Fast forward a few years later after I had finally decided to read this book, I realised how wrong I was - there was nothing fluffy about this story.
The writers did a good job in conveying the story as it flowed fluently and the characters were written in a way that made me feel for them.
As for the romantic plotline regarding Harvard Hottie, I felt that there wasn't enough material written about Nanny's relationship with him. The biggest relationship was really the one between Nanny and little Grayer.
Nanny tried to do her very best in sheltering Grayer from his parents' apparent lack of interest, and attempting to provide his life with some stability and normality.
I hoped against all hope that she would be able to do something to make the Xes came to their senses and appreciate what a wonderful child Grayer was. However, I acknowledged that there wasn't a lot that Nanny could do; afterall, she was only a young student with limited life experience.
If I could only use 1 word to describe how I feel when reading this book, it would have to be 'helpless' -
I felt helpless reading about little Grayer always being brushed aside by his parents instead of getting all the love and attention that he so deserved;
I felt helpless reading about Nanny's incapability in dealing with Mrs X who was so much more experienced and manipulative that she unknowingly got sucked into the latter's drama;
I felt helpless by the way the book ended - Nanny was removed from Grayer's life so abruptly, with no goodbye.
By the end of this book, I come to realise that I could never work as a nanny because I would be too emotionally attached to the child. It was heart-breaking the way Nanny was fired from her job without a chance to say goodbye to Grayer, and also when she broke down at the end of her rant into the nanny-cam.
Overall, this was a good and heartfelt story.
But I would turn to the movie version when I wanted to have a better closure and happier ending to the story.
In fact, at times, it's a bit TOO shocking.... and the main character seems to take in all the outlandish abuse without so much as a peep of protest. That fact made this book a little hard for me to swallow, since I am hard-headed and outspoken enough that I NEVER would have put up with a fraction of what she did. I was also annoyed with the ending, and how many aspects of the storyline were not concluded very well or at all (hopefully the upcoming movie will do that better).
However, as frustrating as it was to watch Nanny continually get the short end of the stick, and to not have a terribly satisfying ending, I still enjoyed this clever novel greatly!
Most recent customer reviews
The Nany Diaries is the first book in the Nanny series by American authors and ex-nannies, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.Read more