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Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus. Copyright: Todd Plitt, USA TODAY
Nicola Kraus
Emma McLaughlin

2002 .|. The Nanny Diaries First Chapter at Penguin Putnam .|. Bookworm's Comment
2004 .|. Citizen Girl
2007 .|. Dedication .|. Bookreporter.com
2009 .|. Nanny Returns First Chapter at Simon and Shuster .|. Bookreporter.com

The Nanny Diaries
"The Nanny Diaries" (St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 1st edition, 2002, read: June 02)
"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 Xes' 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 important, 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 fictional diary of a nanny to the rich and beautiful in New York. Officially it's a satire but there's more truth in it than one dares to hope. Nanny works for the family X as a nanny to their four year old son Grayer while she tries to finish her studies at New York University. One of her rules of being a nanny is "Love the child because you will hate everyone else". And caring for Grayer is the only thing which gets her through some of the spleens and hardships of the Xes household.
The book is an attempt to get even with the rich families of Manhattan, a very peculiar (and for Europeans not easily understandable) species. The husband works all the time, but has a mistress anyways; the wife (the former mistress) doesn't cook, clean, work or care for her child but is stressed the whole day; and the four-year-old should be as intelligent as Einstein, is carried to French- and tennis-lessons and is expected to learn it's first Latin during lunchtime to have a chance of attending the best pre-school.

Both authors have been nannies during their university-years and know what they are talking about. The Xes are a condensed version of all the every-day-absurdities they encountered. One grows to like Nanny and Grayer a lot while reading and sometimes it really hurts to read how disrespectful and contemptuous Mrs. X behaves against them. In the end this can't turn out well and the one suffering the most is, of course, Grayer. And one can be sure that Mrs. X is one of those people who will never learn to meet other people with respect. In spite of this rather sad conclusion this book is absolutely hilarious and full of absurdities. We won't have to wait long for the movie version because Miramax already bought the rights. For everyone who is looking for a great summer read this book is highly recommended!
[Dorothée Büttgen, June 02]

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