The Nanny Diaries Review
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The co-authors of this book took their collective experiences in the trenches as Manhattan nannies and turned it into a novel that gives readers and inside look at the way The Other Half lives. When the main character, Nanny, takes a two-day-a-week job as a nanny for a Manhattan socialite family, she doesn’t realize that she’s actually sold her soul to them. Her part-time job becomes a life commitment, as she tries to graduate from NYU and run a family at the same time. She escorts four-year-old Grayer from school to play date to French class to piano lesson, and she runs errands at the drop of a hat for her demanding employer, Mrs. X.

This book is painfully funny. I couldn’t stop laughing at the stories of the bizarre things that poor Nan was forced to do. At the same time, I was pained by the fact that things like this really do happen. There are children out there whose parents want nothing to do with them -- besides making sure that they get into the right elementary school. And there are people out there who really have no regard for other human beings. And while the book made me laugh, it also made me just plain mad.

There were also a few other things that frustrated me about this book. First, the authors were so careful about making this book absolutely fictional and anonymous that they made their writing style distracting. Some characters actually have names, while others don’t. The main character is, plainly, Nanny. The family is the X family (though the little boy has a name). Nanny’s friends and roommate have names, her roommate’s boyfriend and her own boyfriend don’t (one is Hairy Pilot, the other is H.H., short for Harvard Hottie). It would have been a lot less distracting if the authors had given the characters names instead. And second, some of the storylines weren’t well developed. For instance, Nanny begins a relationship with H.H. And while he’s mentioned at times, it’s almost as an aside. I realize that it wasn’t a part of the main plot, but then it shouldn’t have been in the book at all. Once again, it was distracting. It felt like it was supposed to be a main storyline, but it wasn’t developed at all. The same goes for Nanny’s job hunt. In the book, she goes on one nightmarish interview, and we hear nothing else until later in the book, where she confirms that she’s got a job.

Distractions aside, however, I really enjoyed reading The Nanny Diaries -- though it does definitely make me look at the parents in the wealthy New England town where I live with a little bit of suspicion...

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