“The Nanny Diaries” by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

I really, really liked this book. It was awesome. It was way funnier than I expected, but it was also unexpectedly touching and occasionally heart wrenching. The best part, I think, is that it was clearly written, and the About the Author bears this out, by people who actually worked as nannies for a long time, know all about it, and this is a compilation of all the ridiculous crap that they and people they know have had to go through. I mean, I’ve never worked as a nanny, but I recognize the tone of someone talking about something they’re very familiar with, and doing their very best to find the humor in it.

I personally don’t understand how Mrs. X could be such a bad mother and clearly not even want to be a mother, and yet so deeply resent the people that are actually raising her child and fulfilling that role. I mean, I get it, I see how it can happen, but only if you’re just a terrible, terrible person. Although, if the book is to be believed, this happens all the time among the type of people who can hire a nanny. Although that may be my class prejudice talking.

Anyway, I was sold on the book with the prologue, which was awesome, and, if I’m any judge, was originally written before they ever started writing the book, but what initially piqued my interest was the ad on the back with the synopsis “Wanted: One young woman to take care of four year old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic, and selfless- bordering on narcissistic. Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap- deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus growing out of employer’s Hermes bag. Those who take it personally need not apply.” Honestly, how can you say no to that? And, refreshingly, this is actually an accurate description of both the book and the writing style. I totally recommend it. It’s kind of a classic.


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