Jan 24, 2008

The Nanny Diaries

by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

This over-hyped book is about a college student in New York who nannies for a rich family. It's kind of funny, but the characters and storyline are rather flat (based on thirty different nanny jobs the authors had). Basically, it's all about how badly the "X" parents treat their child, each other and their domestic help. The little boy is pathetically ignored by his mother, and his father is never home. The sad thing is that even though the nanny was a smart college girl, she didn't quit and get a better job when her employer started making unreasonable demands. She stayed and took loads of abuse, claiming it was because she cared so much for the kid, but unable to stand up to the parents or make much of a difference for him. She admitted to being there for the money. It was discouraging. The Nanny Diaries is a quick read, somewhat entertaining, but in the end mostly I just felt sad for the poor kid.

Rating: 2/5                   306 pages, 2002

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ravenous reader said...

I was pretty underwhelmed by this one as well. But the trailer for the movie looks kind of cute.

I was just coming over here to tell you you'd been tagged, but you beat me to it! Have fun with that one - I had to think a little bit :)

Jeane said...

Disappointing, wasn't it? And a good friend of mine gave it such a high recommendation. Thanks for tagging me! I had to think real hard on it, too.

Lauren said...

I have this book on TBR. I guess it will have to be pushed down on the TBR mountain lol

Dewey said...

I felt much the same way about the book. While the X parents were real jerks, the nanny didn't strike me as a particularly decent person, either. Like you, I felt sorry for the real-life kids the authors nannied. I mean, thirty nanny jobs? Either they were clearly taking jobs just for the research (nice to let kids get attached to them and then bail) or they were very bad at their jobs, getting fired frequently, or they didn't learn from their mistakes, taking jobs with terrible people and having to quit over and over again, yet... still taking another job with another terrible parent. In the long run, you have to wonder what the parents' versions of the same stories would be, or more relevant, the kids' versions.

Chain Reader said...

I would have to agree with you on this one--I couldn't even finish it!

tinylittlelibrarian said...

It's funny, I find that this was part of quite a distinct trend a few years ago where young women wrote semi-autobiographical, over-the-top novels about their horrible, low-paying, exploitative jobs. The Devil Wears Prada was another, as was the nannies' second book, Citizen Girl. While I did find some enjoyment in them, most of the time I just thought "Then why don't you quit?" "Why do you let her treat you that way?" throughout.

Stephanie said...

The movie wasn't that sad - they wrapped it up nicely and gave it a upbeat hollywood ending.

Jeane said...

Lauren- I wouldn't give it any priority.

Dewey- perhaps the nannies secretly enjoyed the scandal? Were they preconceiving a book, or just couldn't keep the jobs? I'm sure the other side of the story would be interesting.

Chain Reader- Thumbing through this book in order to write the review, I did think to myself: how did I ever get through this thing?

TLLibrarian- Ha! I felt the same way about that Devil-Prada film.

Stephanie- Unfortunately, the book has soured the story so much for me I don't think I could sit down and watch the movie version.