UK Kirkus Review »
For the upper classes of Britain and Europe, the nanny has long been a vital part of the domestic scene; hence the references to Mary Poppins in this sparkling satire on a seriously rich way of life in New York. Rich as in money: spiritual values are pointedly shown to be in very short supply. Our narrator nanny soon becomes very attached to her four-year-old charge, Grayer, but also repelled by his parents, Mr and Mrs X, a spoiled and desperately selfish couple with an over-developed sense of entitlement: their own. Employees in the X menage are entitled to nothing, and are exploited as a matter of course. Nanny, however, shows herself to be a young woman of spirit as she contends with Mrs X in particular and with the world in general for the right to her own life. Like most effective and well-written satires, this book is based on sobering truths, while the humour, sometimes rollicking, often wry, overlies several messages of great importance. The authors make important points about the needs of children: no matter how disastrous the Xes are as parents, Grayer still loves and wants them, and Nanny often finds herself a supportive second-best. Children also need to be children, yet here we are shown tots being groomed for power almost from the cradle, with schedules almost as tight as their parents'. These same parents seem to regard the bearing of children as an important thing to achieve, but then have scant interest in rearing them, as well as a cavalier attitude to handing them over to strangers. Even though this entertaining book is a work of fiction, it is hardly surprising that Kraus and McLaughlin are no longer nannies. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » Rich parents, neglected brats, an overworked caregiver. First-novelists and former nannies McLaughlin and Kraus get the details right: in acid asides, they limn the decor, trendy therapies, and the pretensions of social-climbing Manhattanites. It's the woebegone children who often suffer, according to the authors' young heroine (her name: Nanny), a child-development major at NYU. Mrs. X, a perfectly groomed Park Avenue princess, hires Nanny to care for four-year-old Grayer, and the girl does her best to comply with a long list of rules. The boy is rarely permitted to play inside the luxurious apartment, eat anything made with refined flour, and so forth. Mrs. X is too busy with committee work and salon treatments (and keeping an eye on her philandering husband) to do much mothering. Though Grayer is a holy terror, Nanny has a way with kids-and a family of her own to give advice when the tot falls ill. Racking cough? High fever? When Mrs. X is away at a spa and has left orders that she's not to be disturbed for any reason, Nanny's mother diagnoses croup. But "tragedy" strikes again: Nanny is hoping for a lavish Christmas present but all she gets is earmuffs. When she isn't microwaving tofu snacks or teaching Grayer the intricacies of the Hokey Pokey, Nanny indulges in daydreams about the Harvard hottie she's been flirting with in the elevator-and participates in obligatory gripe-and-gossip fests with her girlfriends. Should she tell Mrs. X about the black thong panties that Mr. X's bitchy mistress left behind? And how about going with them to Nantucket? There's nothing to buy there except candles and nautical trinkets, and her employers are sure to be at each other's throats. When Nanny quits, she tells off Grayer's indifferent parents at last, having discovered that they've been spying on her through a nannycam concealed in a stuffed bear. Sometimes farcical, largely sincere-and ultimately trivial. (Kirkus Reviews)
Book Review: Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus - Reviewed by CloggieA (14 Jan 2017)
The Nany Diaries is the first book in the Nanny series by American authors and ex-nannies, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. We start with a nanny called Nanny. Then we have parents Mr X and Mrs X, and their four-year-old son, Grayer. And a potential boyfriend who never gets beyond HH (=Harvard Hottie). So, ignore the silly names, and wade through the interview experiences, the ridiculous demands of these ultra-rich socialites and their first-world problems, and the brand name soup, and there’s actually a reasonable story. Which is that the nanny often has a much better relationship with the children than either of the parents do. And that all that money doesn’t ensure a stable marriage or a happy childhood.
Nanny lacks backbone (but not self-pity) and makes quite a few unwise decisions. Nonetheless, her dedication to her four-year-old charge is genuine. The Xes are, no doubt, an amalgamation of the worst parents the authors have encountered: pretentious, shallow and selfish. This tale gives the reader some laughs, some head-shaking and some gasps at the behaviour of the rich. Is it entertaining enough that readers will want to read the sequel? Doubtful.