"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."
I was very sad reading this book. The parents' lack of love for their child really got to me. Part of me wanted the nanny to stay, so that the boy would have someone around him who really cared about him, but I understood why she had to go. I didn't find this book to be funny-just too sad.
This book is sometimes heartbreaking in its portrayal of the rich people who have children-- and then do not bother to take care of them. The narrator, Nanny, remarks that it is truly sad that the only people who care for these children are the ones who are paid to take care of them. Don't get me wrong, I loved this book-- Nanny was a great narrator, and her humor was spot-on. But at times I was also crying because the neglect of little Grayer was so sad. A great read; I recommend it.
I really enjoyed this book. Good use of humor was made to present what was really a very sad story about "how the other half lives."
I'm sure that not every wealthy family with a Nanny treats their children and employees this badly, but knowing that the authors have worked for many of them makes it seem likely that this happens quite often. One of the saddest parts of this book for me was having the feeling that four-year old Grayer, while a sweet child, albeit with problems caused by the lack of attachment from his parents, was inevitably going to end up just the same as his parents when he gets older.
I felt very sympathetic towards Nanny. She was well aware of being walked on, but felt the need to stay around to help protect little Grayer. Such a selfless act took a lot of courage and strength.
I am one of the few people who disliked the Nanny Diaries. I couldn't get past the self centered boss who used the nanny as a slave. I know that is the whole point of the book. I just wanted the nanny to go off in a big way. I am not sure who was worse, the evil boss or the spineless nanny. No amount of money is worth your dignity. The worse thing about it is that there are people like that in the world.