October 20, 2011

Adventures in Childcare • The Nanny Diaries

The Nanny Diaries book cover
The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus & Emma McLaughlin
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: March 18, 2003
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

In between looking after four-year-old Grayer and running a thousand errands for Mrs X, his rich, uptight Manhattanite mohter, Nan is trying to have a life. There's college, shopping, her friends, her cat George. And the gorgeous Harvard boy from the sixth floor...

But the X family's dramas keep intruding - visits from Mr X's predatory mistress, catastrophic family outings and, as a final straw, the case of the marriage-destroying panties. As Divorce looms, Nan realises how attached she's become to the Xs' unloved son - and how nannying has become more than just a job.

I've seen the movie for The Nanny Diaries once or twice before, but I saw the book and snapped it up because I've always liked seeing how the book is in comparison to the movie. The Nanny Diaries was a light, playful read, although it did tackle some surprisingly emotional issues that hit very close to home for me.

I found the voice of our main character Nanny quite frank, unique and funny. She had opinions on just about every single little thing about the families she worked for, and I thought her descriptions and her characterizations were quite witty. Though at times I wanted to toss things at her head (especially whenever she'd let Mrs. X boss her around and when she couldn't just say no), I could understand her actions in lieu of her love, affection and concern for Grayer.

Grayer is an adorable child, if on occasion a bit of a brat. I loved him almost immediately, what with his witticisms, silliness and his thirst for life, love and affection, so it was incredibly difficult for me to watch him go through what he did because of his parents. Just like Nan, I was angry on his behalf and, just like her as well, I would have tried to do my best to be the one solid comforting presence in his life.

The Nanny Diaries warmed my heart, as the movie does, because I grew up with a nanny of sorts and I love that woman as if she were a part of my own family. Though my parents were way more involved than Mr. and Mrs. X, my yaya is still a very important person to me. I like how The Nanny Diaries illustrates the relationship between a nanny and her charge, emphasizing how they often end up being considered family.

The Nanny Diaries was nicely written, although it did sound like an anecdote that a friend would have told me over dinner for the most part. There are a bunch of scenes that warmed my heart, another set that made me want to tear my hair out and another that just made me feel so, so, so very sad. The Nanny Diaries was a nice, easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


  1. Completely agree with you! It was a really good book to read and enjoyed every bit of it ^^


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