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Thursday, December 17, 2009
book review: Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Nan is now married to Ryan (the Harvard Hottie!), and after living many places around the world, they have returned to New York City and purchased a house in Harlem that is in disrepair. Nan has her master's degree and works as a consultant, even though she only has one client. Grayer, whom Nan used to nanny, is now 16, the Xes are divorcing, and now there is an adorable 7-year-old Stilton X as well.
Here's what is really important: the book is laugh-out-loud funny. I loved it more for the social commentary, which I daresay will age well as a tale of the privileged, private schooled rich New Yorkers in the late 2000s. It's a book that works both on the societal and personal level. It's an absolutely hilarious indictment of New York City's clueless and deluded upper-echelon; the brilliance lies in the fact that it manages to malign without defaming. I don't think the financial elite would take offense at their portrayal in this book.
On the individual level, Nan is delightful. She's smarter and more worldly than her 21-year-old self, but she still struggles with wanting to do the right thing and her place in the world, and in New York society. Ryan, her husband, is ready for children, and she's terrified of messing them up. There's a touch of Katie Fforde-like everywoman in Nan. She's stubborn, independent, warm hearted and plagued with problems that seem insurmountable at times, yet Nan handles them with grace, humor and an appropriate amount of ire.
I read The Nanny Diaries before my days of book blogging, and I remember enjoying it, but I don't recall my other reactions to it. Despite my spotty memory, I enjoyed Nanny Returns more. Should you read it if you haven't read the first one? Sure. You might miss a few of the inside jokes, but the crux of the story, and it's social commentary would not be lost. It's refreshing to read a book that makes you laugh out loud throughout the main character's ups and downs. It's never too serious or too fluffy, and it beautifully traverses the fine line between personal story and social commentary.
I'm continuously amazed two authors can write together well, but Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are improving as writers. Nanny Returns is their best book so far.
Rating: 4.25 stars (out of 5)
Publication date: December 15, 2009
Source: the authors very kindly sent me a copy of this book
Buy Nanny Returns from Amazon.com. (If you buy the book through this link, I will receive a small commission from Amazon. Thank you!)