The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola KrausThe two authors of this breezy novel based the plot on their ten years of experience working as nannies in New York. Their fictional Nanny cares for a four year old boy, Grayer, in Manhattan. Grayer’s life consists of an endless round of trendy educational experiences, macrobiotic foods, and bewildering play dates from which his parents are conspicuously absent. These upper crust parents are at pains to make Nanny aware of her short falls. Nanny attempts to care for Grayer, appease his parents, complete her degree and hook up with a handsome hottie who lives in the same building.

What the Armchair Critics Thought:
We found it interesting to read a book by two authors and wondered how they arranged the responsibilities. The book was well written, with a good balance between Nanny’s work and personal life. The name Grayer was appropriate because this was a child who tended to fade out of his parents’ social climbing world. Mrs. X, the mother, was a caricature – could anyone be so brittle, demanding and self-absorbed? Her ‘spatula move’ where she scooped Grayer aside every time he ran to her, was the perfect metaphor for her relationship with him. We noted that the parents could only cope with their complete lack of interest in their son by minimizing and undervaluing the importance of the nanny’s job (hence the earmuffs for Christmas). For interest, a Globe and Mail article on families who bring along a nanny on vacation was circulated. It paralleled the novel to a surprising degree. We also discussed the phenomenon of web cameras in daycares and whether this also showed insecurity in parenting.

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