Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Nanny Diaries

McLaughlin, Emma and Nicola Kraus. The Nanny Diaries. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002. Print.
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My Thoughts

OH, this book made me laugh!

In the "note to readers," the authors state that they've worked for over thirty NYC families and the story was "inspired by what they have learned and experienced" but the book is a "work of fiction" and "any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is coincidental" (McLaughlin and Kraus).

The book is divided into three parts: fall, winter, & spring. It is in the fall that "Nanny" first meets and starts working for the Xs. Mrs. X is a socialite and so busy taking care of herself and her husband's business parties that she can't take care of her own child. Ironically, Mrs. X is very active in the Parents League and has several recommendations for others about how best to handle children (when she, herself, doesn't!). Nanny doesn't even meet Mr. X until two months have passed. Once she meets him, he is more interested in the newspaper than the person TAKING CARE OF HIS CHILD!

Grayer X is the charge. He is a rambunctious, over scheduled, coddled child that Nanny adores. He is four or five years old. His mother is concerned about him getting into the "right" school. When her first choice doesn't make, she states that "we're just going to be left with his safeties and I'm not enthusiastic about the college placements at those schools" (McLaughlin and Kraus 175). Did I mention he's FOUR years old?

Nanny describes there are three types of "gigs" and mothers: types A, B, and C.  Type "A" is a few nights a week to give "couple time" and the mother relates to the nanny as a professional. Type "B" is "sanity time" for a mother who mothers most days and nights. Type C is when the nanny "is brought in as one of a cast of many to collectively provide twenty-four/seven 'me time' to a woman who neither works nor mothers" (McLaughlin and Kraus 26). Mrs. X is a Type C. She absolutely is the comic element in this story. Her reality and expectations are so skewed! When Nanny wants to attend her own graduation at NYU, Mrs. X seems put out because it might delay their trip to Nantucket and actually says, "I don't think we can delay our departure on your account" (McLaughlin and Kraus 236). REALLY?! There are so many more examples of Mrs. X's absurdity, and that's what made the book funny to me.

I love the closure that Nanny gets after the Nantucket trip. I was cheering her on and she talked to the nanny cam bear. She was rightfully mad at the situation. I'm glad she saw Mrs. X's calendar, but I couldn't believe that Mrs. X wrote "N's behavior is unacceptable. Completely self-centered. Providing poor care. Has no respect for professional boundaries. Is taking complete advantage" (McLaughlin and Kraus 301). Oh, my! If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black.

I appreciated the allusion on page 136 to The Scarlet Letter. So witty!

Overall, this was a delightful book.

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