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The Nanny Diaries: A Novel Paperback – March 18, 2003
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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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Two former Manhattan nannies blow the lid off of the private child-care industry with a hilarious debut that pulls no punches as it recounts the travails of Nan, a hip Mary Poppins looking for a job to fit around her child-development classes at NYU. Mrs. X seems reasonable enough when she hires Nan to look after her four-year-old son, Grayer, but she quickly reveals herself to be a monster a bundle of neuroses wrapped up in Prada, whose son is little more than another status symbol in a fabulous Park Avenue apartment. Mr. X is just as horrible, although he's rarely seen or heard, too busy navigating mergers and mistresses to make time for a family starving for his affection. Nan finds herself stuck in a low-paying job from which she can be fired on a whim, enduring a steady stream of condescension, indifference and passive-aggressive notes on Mrs. X's posh stationery. Against the advice of family and friends, she stays because of her devotion to Grayer but how long will it be before she explodes? The pages fairly crackle with class resentment that might have been more convincing if Nanny's own family weren't as comfortable, and the finale delivers more whimper than bang, but it's easy to forgive such flaws when everything else rings true. Especially impressive is the authors' ability to allow the loathsome Mrs. X occasional flashes of humanity and pathos. Required reading for parents and the women they hire to do their parenting. National advertising and author publicity. (Mar.)Forecast: With Julia Roberts doing the Random Audio version, and film rights already sold to Miramax, the sky's the limit for this thoroughly appealing title.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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.
There are some flaws that prevent the book from being better than it is. The first and most serious can't be helped: the authors are good enough to portray the pathos of the little kids who are being run over by their parents' ambitions and neglect. The fact sits there like a lump in your stomach as the narration prattles on in a "lite" chick lit tone about how badly Mr. & Mrs. X--how the employers are identified--are treating Nanny. The trajectory of satire loses altitude past a certain point when it devolves into one turn of bad behavior after the next. One of the most knowing moments early in the book occurs when Nanny has an unpleasant encounter with wealthy frat boys at a bar: they are the product of parents like the Xes. You realize, this could well be the future of that sweet little boy in Nanny's charge. But then the authors undercut that with a meet-cute subplot about a boyfriend from the same stratosphere.
It's kind of like the authors bought the architecture of Edith Wharton as a teardown and replaced it with a particle board palace.
Nanny is a ridiculous wimp, though. Let's face it - she's young, American, white and a college student. She could have her pick of any nanny job in New York. Anyone else would have run like hell after the first week. But I understand why she stayed on after awhile - she got attached to Grayer. And that was realistic, too. She couldn't bear to see him abandoned by yet another person he loves.
Like many other reviewers, I came away from this book upset and feeling low. But I recommend it, especially for anyone who grew up resentful because they didn't have a rich Mommy and Daddy. See what you were missing. :(
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