Book Review of The Nanny Diaries

The Nanny Diaries
reviewed on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8


"Although I expected this book to be funny, having heard that it delves deep into the quirks of New York's wealthy elite, I was not prepared for the feelings of indignation, dismay and embarrassment it evoked as well. Beneath the simple story line - a twenty something college student works as a nanny to pay the rent - lays a minefield of human dysfunction. There is the mother who can't stand to touch or be with her child for more than a few minutes, and only then if he is completely clean; the father who routinely fails to show up for preplanned family events such as trips to Aspen, Christmas parties and dinner parties; the father's mistress who tries to enlist Nanny in her secret trysts; and the father's secretary who is always covering for her boss. And that's just the immediate family. Things get even more complicated and uncomfortable as Nanny's duties are expanded to include helping the wife shop, run errands and make restaurant reservations. What saves the novel from becoming just another tawdry soap opera is the skillful development of the relationship between Nanny and her 4-year old charge Grayer, and the healthy reality checks provided by Nan's (Nannny) outspoken and eminently practical family.

Like all young children, Grayer can be a terror. He bites, he kicks, he refuses to play nicely, and at first he can't stand the sight of Nanny who has come to replace his previous and much loved caretaker, Caitlin. However, as time goes on Grayer and Nanny hammer out a relationship and a routine they both can enjoy. However, as the tension builds between Grayer's parents, becomes clear that a meltdown is inevitable. What makes it almost unbearable is Grayer's vulnerability and Nanny's inability to protect him. Be prepared for humor laced with bitterness and sorrow as The Nanny Diaries proves that in the midst of abundance it is possible to starve from lack of love."
- Naia