The Nanny Diaries

“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 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.”

I read the Nanny Diaries over a long weekend in January. It was the gossip-y read I was looking for, providing just the right amount of chances to be shocked at the tragic behavior of the fabulously wealthy. It reminded me a lot of The Devil Wears Prada. (I never read the book—I’m talking the movie version.) In both, earnest twenty-somethings try to make it in Manhattan. In both, we get to spy on and be drawn into the very human struggles of the successful. Before we ultimately learn they’re pretty much the worst, just as we suspected from the beginning. And in both, there is a satisfying moment of flinging the object of the oppressor’s control—a cell phone in both cases— into a body of water.

The co-authors are clearly drawing on their real life experiences as nannies and they’re funny to boot. The story is believable, if sad. People really do relegate raising their children to others by choice. (To be clear, I’m not talking about working moms who are paying the bills and putting food on the table…that has almost nothing in common with the kind of people in this story).

I liked Nan, fell in love with poor Grayer, and loved to hate Mr. and Mrs. X, Ms. Chicago, and all their ridiculous colleagues (the authors would approve of my hesitation to call them friends, I think). This book definitely did not make me a better person but it was entertaining and sometimes that’s what I need from a story.