Cover image for The nanny diaries : a novel
Title:
The nanny diaries : a novel
Author:
McLaughlin, Emma.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
305 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.9 14.0 107613.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780312278588
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Wanted:One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy.Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless-bordering on masochisticMust relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived pre-schoolerMust love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his familyMust enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic payMostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employers Hermes bag.Those who take it personally need not apply.Who wouldn't want this job?Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn't work, cook, clean, or raise her own child has a smooth day.When the Xs marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humor. Over nine tense months Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude. The Nanny Diaries deftly skewers the manner in which America's over-privileged raise les petites over-privileged-as if grooming them for a Best in Show competition. Written by two former nannies, this alternately comic and poignant satire punctures the glamour of Manhattan's upper class.


Author Notes

Emma McLaughlin was born in Elmira, New York on February 7, 1974. She graduated from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Arts in Education. She worked as a business consultant within the private and public sectors. She met Nicola Kraus while both were attending New York University, and working as nannies. They wrote The Nanny Diaries, which was published in 2002 and was adapted into a film starring Scarlett Johansson in 2007. Their other works include Citizen Girl, Dedication, The Real Real, Nanny Returns, and The First Affair.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The difference between a baby-sitter and a nanny is the employer's income. If your boss makes seven figures, you're definitely a nanny. Here, the nanny's real name is Nanny, and her charge is four-year-old Grayer Addison X. College student Nanny wanted a 12-hour-a-week gig, but soon enough, she is soon working triple-overtime attending "Family Day" at preschool and being asked by a "Long-Term Development Consultant" what "methodology" she follows in dressing young Grayer. Things only get worse when Mr. X's mistress expects Nanny to help facilitate her employer's affair. Based on the authors' experiences as nannies to Manhattan's elite, the novel thoroughly skewers the privileged few, but beyond the satire, readers will care greatly for Nanny, poor Grayer, and even Mrs. X, who suffers the humiliation of her husband's infidelity even as she attempts to deny it. Some minor characters need fleshing out and a subplot involving Nanny's romance with an Ivy League student is left dangling, but finally this is a fast-paced, witty, and thoroughly entertaining tale. --Beth Warrell


Publisher's Weekly Review

A blistering satire based on the real-life experiences of former New York City nannies McLaughlin and Kraus, this hilarious examination of the upper echelons of Manhattan society and the unlovable Park Avenue X family is flawlessly complemented by Roberts's limber, metamorphosing vocal performance. Depicted by the Academy Award winner's detached, patronizing tone, Mrs. X, a housewife, has little more to do than spend her adulterous, workaholic husband's seven-figure salary on manicures, designer clothes and floral arrangements. She delegates the care of her bratty four-year-old son, Grayer, and other small "errands" (e.g., shopping for a 50-guest dinner party) to an NYU grad student, Nan. Highlighting the disparity between the decadent, insular world of the Xs against the underpaid, disrespected one of the hired help surrounding them works especially well in audio, as Roberts acutely captures neglected Grayer's temper tantrums, piercing whines, inconsolable cries of "I want my mommy" and the hesitant tones and broken English of his playmate's caretakers. When the babysitter's "level of commitment" to the job is questioned and a developmental consultant is called in to handle the "deleterious self-esteem adjustment" her charge may have been set up for after failing to make it into a prestigious school, Roberts conveys Nan's struggle through readings alternately sarcastic, angry and falsely cheerful. This is a witty and thoroughly enjoyable production. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Forecasts, Feb. 25). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

McLaughlin and Kraus spent a combined eight years nannying for wealthy families in New York City. What they witnessed has driven them to write an amusingly cutthroat novel based on their experiences. The main character named Nan, of course is nanny to four-year-old Grayer. Mrs. X, Grayer's mother and Nan's boss, is a snob of the highest order, spending so much time shopping and gossiping that she doesn't have a spare second for her child. Nan, however, is called upon to become Grayer's stand-in mom on countless occasions. Some of these episodes are hilarious, as when Nan has to dress in a full-size Teletubby outfit that matches Grayer's. And some are horribly sad, as when Grayer is ill and his own mother couldn't care less, leaving Nan to stay up all night with the feverish child. Nan has to ferry Grayer to countless lessons, make him meals of steamed organic kale and tofu, and protect him from the wrath of his uncaring parents. Looking through Nan's eyes into the lives of Manhattan's rich is a lot of fun she's biting. Film rights have already been sold to Miramax. Look for this to be a popular title. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/01.] Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

PROLOGUE The Interview Every season of my nanny career kicked off with a round of interviews so surreally similar that I'd often wonder if the mothers were slipped a secret manual at the Parents League to guide them through. This initial encounter became as repetitive as religious ritual, tempting me, in the moment before the front door swung open, either to kneel and genuflect or say, "Hit it!" No other event epitomized the job as perfectly, and it always began and ended in an elevator nicer than most New Yorkers' apartments. *** The walnut-paneled car slowly pulls me up, like a bucket in a well, toward potential solvency. As I near the appointed floor I take a deep breath; the door slides open onto a small vestibule which is the portal to, at most, two apartments. I press the doorbell. Nanny Fact: she always waits for me to ring the doorbell, even though she was buzzed by maximum security downstairs to warn of my imminent arrival and is probably standing on the other side of the door. May, in fact, have been standing there since we spoke on the telephone three days ago. The dark vestibule, wallpapered in some gloomy Colefax and Fowler floral, always contains a brass umbrella stand, a horse print, and a mirror, wherein I do one last swift check of my appearance. I seem to have grown stains on my skirt during the train ride from school, but otherwise I'm pulled together--twin set, floral skirt, and some Gucci-knockoff sandals I bought in the Village. She is always tiny. Her hair is always straight and thin; she always seems to be inhaling and never exhaling. She is always wearing expensive khaki pants, Chanel ballet flats, a French striped Tshirt, and a white cardigan. Possibly some discreet pearls. In seven years and umpteen interviews the I'm-momcasual-in-my-khakis-but-intimidating-in-my-$400-shoes outfit never changes. And it is simply impossible to imagine her doing anything so undignified as what was required to get her pregnant in the first place. Her eyes go directly to the splot on my skirt. I blush. I haven't even opened my mouth and already I'm behind. She ushers me into the front hall, an open space with a gleaming marble floor and mushroom-gray walls. In the middle is a round table with a vase of flowers that look as if they might die, but never dare wilt. This is my first impression of the Apartment and it strikes me like a hotel suite--immaculate, but impersonal. Even the lone finger painting I will later find taped to the fridge looks as if it were ordered from a catalog. (Sub-Zeros with a custom-colored panel aren't magnetized.) She offers to take my cardigan, stares disdainfully at the hair my cat seems to have rubbed on it for good luck, and offers me a drink. I'm supposed to say, "Water would be lovely," but am often tempted to ask for a Scotch, just to see what she'd do. I am then invited into the living room, which varies from baronial splendor to Ethan Allen interchangeable, depending on how "old" the money is. She gestures me to the couch, where I promptly sink three feet into the cushions, transformed into a five-year-old dwarfed by mountains of chintz. She looms above me, ramrod straight in a very uncomfortable-looking chair, legs crossed, tight smile. Now we begin the actual Interview. I awkwardly place my sweating glass of water carefully on a coaster that looks as if it could use a coaster. She is clearly reeling with pleasure at my sheer Caucasianness. "So," she begins brightly, "how did you come to the Parents League?" This is the only part of the Interview that resembles a professional exchange. We will dance around certain words, such as "nanny" and "child care," because they would be distasteful and we will never, ever, actually acknowledge that we are talking about my working for her. This is the Holy Covenant of the Mother/Nanny relationship: this is a pleasure--not a job. We are merely "getting to know each other," much as how I imagine a John and a call girl must make the deal, while trying not to kill the mood. The closest we get to the possibility that I might actually be doing this for money is the topic of my baby-sitting experience, which I describe as a passionate hobby, much like raising Seeing Eye dogs for the blind. As the conversation progresses I become a child-development expert--convincing both of us of my desire to fulfill my very soul by raising a child and taking part in all stages of his/her development; a simple trip to the park or museum becoming a precious journey of the heart. I cite amusing anecdotes from past gigs, referring to the children by name--"I still marvel at the cognitive growth of Constance with each hour we spent together in the sandbox." I feel my eyes twinkle and imagine twirling my umbrella a la Mary Poppins. We both sit in silence for a moment picturing my studio apartment crowded with framed finger paintings and my doctorates from Stanford. She stares at me expectantly, ready for me to bring it on home. "I love children! I love little hands and little shoes and peanut butter sandwiches and peanut butter in my hair and Elmo--I love Elmo and sand in my purse and the "Hokey Pokey"--can't get enough of it!--and soy milk and blankies and the endless barrage of questions no one knows the answers to, I mean why is the sky blue? And Disney! Disney is my second language!" We can both hear "A Whole New World" slowly swelling in the background as I earnestly convey that it would be more than a privilege to take care of her child--it would be an adventure. She is flushed, but still playing it close to the chest. Now she wants to know why, if I'm so fabulous, I would want to take care of her child. I mean, she gave birth to it and she doesn't want to do it, so why would I? Am I trying to pay off an abortion? Fund a leftist group? How did she get this lucky? She wants to know what I study, what I plan to do in the future, what I think of private schools in Manhattan, what my parents do. I answer with as much filigree and insouciance as I can muster, trying to slightly cock my head like Snow White listening to the animals. She, in turn, is aiming for more of a Diane-Sawyer-pose, looking for answers which will confirm that I am not there to steal her husband, jewelry, friends, or child. In that order. Nanny Fact: in every one of my interviews, references are never checked. I am white. I speak French. My parents are college educated. I have no visible piercings and have been to Lincoln Center in the last two months. I'm hired. Copyright 2002 by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus Excerpted from The Nanny Diaries: A Novel by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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