As someone who has worked with children a lot over the years, there was a good deal in 2002’s The Nanny Diaries that really resonated with me. I mention no names, as that would be unprofessional and unseemly, but I’ll not deny that there was a lot that was familiar about Nan’s interactions with assorted disinterested yet jealous parents and their somewhat spoilt but very lonely offspring.
This sequel is of a similar quality — in that, it’s unspectacular, yet has a certain appeal — and describes life for Nan ten years later, when her former charge, Grayer X (see: no names), reenters her life demanding to know how she could have left him like that. (Er… it was her job, and she got fired, bud. You think she should have abducted you?) Then Grayer needs Nan’s help to lie to the boarding school he wants his little brother to go to, to get him away from their crazy Mom, and Nan just… does it? Even though now she is a consultant at the ritzy Manhattan school that Grayer happens to attend, and definitely no one’s nanny anymore? There are scandals, there are petty rivalries, there are way too many school board meetings, and it’s all very Upper East Side privilege as written by those who haven’t much experienced Upper East Side privilege.
It’s all a bit ludicrous, but then, I watched six seasons of Gossip Girl, and this book is certainly no worse than that, all Bergdorf’s and multi-million-dollar converted lofts and kids who summer in St. Barts or whatever. Nan isn’t that great, and her husband Ryan — whom I remember she called HH in the first book, though I can’t remember what that stood for — is worse, campaigning to knock her up but absent so much for his work that it is clear she would be doing the bulk of the parenting, when she isn’t even sure she wants kids, and as for Grayer, he’s a Poor Little Rich Boy, and Nan is not helping him at all by basically indulging his every whim. But for all the book’s deficiencies, I raced through it in a state of frenzy, dying to see what would happen next and always happy to renew an acquaintanceship with a barely-recalled characters from the first one.
I really hope there won’t be a third one, though.
TBR DAY 206: Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
TIME ON THE TBR: ~5 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Op shop.
KEEP: Probably not.