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The Nanny Diaries
By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

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The Nanny Diaries

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The Nanny Diaries
By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Wheeler Large Print, (2002)
ISBN: 1-5872-4275-3
Genre: Fiction

Reviewed by Laura Hortz Stanton - August 16, 2006

When the weather permits, during my lunch hour I sit in a small park that is a central meeting place within the affluent neighborhood in which my office is located. While munching on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich I watch as the babies and toddlers schmooz on their "play dates" while the nannies sit together taking a little break. I've often wondered what life was like for the nannies who are left to raise someone else's child and for the children that become attached to their caregivers.

With their novel The Nanny Diaries, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, two former nannies, have given those of us who will never know what it is like to have or be a nanny, a fictionalized glimpse into this interesting social situation. The book follows Nan, a senior at NYU, as she starts a new part-time nanny position for the X family, watching their four-year-old son Grayer. Grayer is scheduled from morning to night with every conceivable activity from tennis to French lessons with precious little time for naps. Nan is a devoted nanny, in spite of her boss, Grayer's mother, Mrs. X.

Nan's part-time position soon becomes all consuming as Mrs. X makes increasingly obscure demands and disregards Nan's needs for respect and a personal life. The nanny is left to handle all mothering tasks as well as run errands that Mrs. X can't seem to fit into her arduous schedule of planning dinner parties, shopping, and manicures. The situation soon become unbearable when Nan learns of Mr. X's extramarital affair and gets drawn into the family's ensuing drama.

The reader is drawn into Nan's dilemma of doing what's best for herself versus her need for employment versus her growing fondness for Grayer. The authors have written a humorous and sometimes touching story based on their own experiences in New York City. While the characters in this book have little depth or development and the story has no real climax, The Nanny Diaries is still a fun read that gives a glimpse into the world of caregivers of wealthy families.

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