Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus – The Nanny Diaries (2002)
A novel about a nanny from the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Written by two nannies from the Upper East Side. Nanny (her real name) is the main character in the novel and wants to become a nanny no matter what, even though her mother is against it. Nanny’s mother thinks that she can become something better and she is scared that Nanny become a kind of slave for the family she’s working for. Nanny’s doesn’t care and soon she’s working for the X’s. She gets more and more work to do and Nanny has her doubts of doing the job. But it’s a tough decision because of her relationship with their little son, Grayer aka Grover, has grown so much. And another difficult factor is the nice boy above the X’s apartment, nicknamed Havard Hottie.
As mentioned in the beginning the two writers were nannies, even for 30 families. The novel was more fun and credible when I found out that the writers were nannies themselves. Because from that moment on I could imagine that a lot of stories happened in real life. Emma and Nicola met each other at the university. This novel was their first novel and it reached the first place of the New York Times Bestseller list, in 2002. They made four other books, all together and all about girls and young women. They made a sequel of ‘The Nanny Diaries’ named ‘Nanny returns’.
The story bears resemblance to the Mary Poppins story, but in a modern way, without the magic. Like Mary Poppins Nanny is working for a family that definitely needs help with their ‘underloved son’. The reference to Mary Poppins on the cover and in Nanny’s mind is nice, because it gives the novel more of a dreamy and magical overtone.
The writers succeeded in creating very different kind of characters. And made them real and that evoked emotions. Mrs. X tries hard to save her marriage with Mr. X, but Mr. X doesn’t cooperate at all. He had many affairs. And at the end you really hate Mr. X because of his behavior and terrible character. Especially the relationship with his own son is bad. His son Grayer loves his parents like any other child, but his father (and mother) disappoints him a lot. Because they leave him alone many times. It’s very beautiful to see how the relationships between Grayer and Nanny develops.
Sometimes there are big contradictions in the character of Nanny. Sometimes she is very self-assured and cheeky. In other occasions she is very obedient and lovely. At some moments the differences are to big to believe. The name of the main character ‘Nanny’ is a little bit simplistic, for someone who is a nanny.
The novel is a must for girls who like stories about being a nanny, love, drama and a little bit of clichés. I laughed many times, because of the funny writing style. You can find every emotion in the novel, happiness, sadness, anger, love, which is a good thing.