Excerpt from The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus, Emma McLaughlin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Nanny Diaries

A Novel

by Nicola Kraus, Emma McLaughlin

The Nanny Diaries
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2002, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2003, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Two pieces of information are meant to be conveyed to me during the Tour: (1) I am out of my league, and (2) I will be policing at maximum security to ensure that her child, who is also out of his or her league, does not scuff, snag, spill, or spoil a single element of this apartment. The coded script for this exchange goes as follows: she turns around to "mention" that there really is no housekeeping involved and that Hutchison really "prefers" to play in his room. If there were any justice in the world this is the point when all nannies should be given roadblocks and a stun gun. These rooms are destined to become the burden of my existence. From this point on, ninety-five percent of this apartment will be nothing more than a blurred background for chasing, enticing, and point-blank pleading with the child to "Put the Delft milkmaid down!!" I am also about to become intimate with more types of cleaning fluid than I knew there were types of dirt. It will be in her pantry stocked high above the washer-dryer-that I discover people actually import toilet bowl cleanser from Europe.

We arrive in the kitchen. It is enormous. With a few partitions it could easily house a family of four. She stops to rest one manicured hand on the counter, affecting a familiar pose, like a captain at the helm about to address the crew. However, I know if I asked her where she keeps the flour, a half hour of rummaging through unused baking utensils would ensue.

Nanny Fact: she may pour an awful lot of Perrier in this kitchen, but she never actually eats here. In fact, over the course of the job I never see her eat anything. While she can't tell me where to find the flour, she can probably locate the laxatives in her medicine cabinet blindfolded.

The refrigerator is always bursting with tons of meticulously chopped fresh fruit separated into Tupperware bowls and at least two packs of fresh cheese tortellini that her child prefers without sauce. (Meaning there is never any in the house for me, either.) There is also the requisite organic milk, a deserted bottle of Lillet, and Sarabeth's jam, and lots of refrigerated ginkgo biloba ("for Daddy's memory"). The freezer is stocked with Mommy's dirty little secret: chicken nuggets and popsicles. As I peer into the fridge I see that food is for the child; condiments are for the grown-ups. One pictures a family meal in which parents meekly stick toothpicks into a jar of Grace's sundried tomatoes while child gorges on a feast of fresh fruit and frozen dinners.

"Brandford's meals are really quite simple," she says, gesturing to the frozen food as she closes the freezer door. Translation: they are able to feed him this crap in good conscience on the weekends because I will be cooking him four-course macrobiotic meals on the weeknights. There will be a day to come when I stare at the colorful packages in the freezer with raw envy as I re-steam the wild rice from Costa Rica for the four-year-olds maximum digestive ease.

She swings open the pantry (which is big enough to be a summer home for the family of four who could live in the kitchen) to reveal an Armageddon-ready level of storage, as if the city were in perpetual danger of being looted by a roving band of insanely health-conscious five-year-olds. It is overflowing with every type of juice box, soy milk, rice milk, organic pretzel, organic granola bar, and organic raisin the consulted nutritionist could think up. The only item with additives is a shelf of Goldfish options, including low salt and the not-so-popular onion.

There isn't a single trace of food in the entire kitchen big enough to fill a grown-up hand. Despite the myth of "help yourself," it will take a few starving evenings of raisin dinners before I discover THE TOP SHELF, which appears to be trip wired and covered with dust, but contains the much-coveted gourmet house gifts that have been left for dead by women who see chocolate as a grenade in Pandora's box. Barneys' raisinettes, truffles from Saks, fudge from Martha's Vineyard, all of which I devour like crack-cocaine in the bathroom to avoid the crime being recorded by a possible security camera. I picture the footage being played on Hard Copy: "Nanny caught in the act--heady with delusions of entitlement--breaks cellophane wrapper on '92 Easter Godivas."

The Nanny Diaries. Copyright © 2002 by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!