Author: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Genre: Chick Lit
First Published: 2002
Page Count: 306
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
This is not just another piece of chick-lit; it’s got a heartfelt message that is still as powerful today as it was when the book came out over ten years ago.
*Vicious family dynamic *Realistic, relatable storyline
“If you’re going to do something, darling, then do it all the way.” Nanny is a struggling NYU student who takes a job as a nanny for the precocious Grayer, child of the wealthy X family. However, what seemed like a fairly easy way to earn money to pay the rent on her tiny studio apartment turns into a nightmare of hellish proportions. Her job description soon goes beyond caring for a single child and turns into a balancing act of pleasing a high-strung, detached mother and trying to stay out of the flaming downward spiral of a loveless marriage.
I have found it! I have found perfection in a chick-lit book! Well as close as it gets anyway. This book is witty without being over-the-top and it has a storyline that really gets your blood pumping. The torturous things Nanny is subjected to are not only hilarious and distressing, they are actually plausible. In this day and age where you have people like Beyoncé renting out entire floors to deliver a single child at a hospital or Gwyneth Paltrow honoring us by divulging her inner challenges of movie star motherhood compared to the rest of humanity….it’s remarkably easy to believe there are not one or two but most likely a whole league of Mr and Mrs. Xes out there. And while the reader has to travail through each embarrassing event Nanny endures after the next, there is little Grayer, who brings meaning to the story. He is so lovable that you can more easily relate to Nanny’s dilemma of staying or quitting, and it also makes the Xe’s behavior more disturbing when you read how it shapes the child for the worse.
The only disappointing part of the book was how dated it felt. I can’t believe this was released over ten years ago but the story shows its age. A lot of the story in the beginning revolves around how Nanny is allowed to have a cell phone (which in Nanny’s mind is like being given a BMW). It’s a shame that this somehow couldn’t have been taken out of the plot because the story would otherwise perfectly stand the test of time. Instead, with talk of fax machines and call phones being something only the upper elite would tote, the story loses its punch in those moments. I mean, even kids have cell phones these days.
I’m surprised that I enjoyed this book at all because I hated the movie when I saw it and this kept me from picking up the book for a long time. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember the movie, but I know it couldn’t have been as good as this book. So many nasty, unforgettable moments come to mind that poor Nanny is subjected to and it definitely has the bite that something like The Devil Wears Prada had that made the story popular – except this job isn’t as glamorous. Definitely do not miss The Nanny Diaries!
*Film Adaptations: ( Starring Scarlett Johansson 2007)