Introduction & Overview of The Nanny Diaries

Nicola Kraus
This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Nanny Diaries.
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The Nanny Diaries Summary & Study Guide Description

The Nanny Diaries Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus.

The Nanny Diaries: A Novel (2002) is a humorous but revealing novel by two former nannies, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Drawing on their many experiences as childcare providers while in college in New York City, the pair created a work of fiction based on actual events they experienced or heard about. The result is a comical yet poignant peek into a world of privilege, giving a modern illustration of the timeless truth that money does not buy happiness.

The novel focuses on a college student and part-time nanny, called Nanny or Nan, who is hired by the X family to care for their four-year-old son, Grayer. She soon becomes Grayer's surrogate mother as his parents neglect their son to focus on more pressing issues, such as extramarital affairs and fostering social status. Though Mrs. X becomes increasingly demanding of Nan's time, focus, and energy, Nan stays with the family for Grayer's sake, until she is fired during a family vacation to Nantucket.

The Nanny Diaries was a hit, spending more than thirty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel eventually sold more than two million copies and was translated into at least thirteen languages. Critics and readers alike praised the novel for its comic touches, especially those related to the materialistic and pretentious X family. Readers were allowed a close-up glimpse of the lives of the Park Avenue rich, warts and all. Many former nannies confirmed The Nanny Diaries's reflection of many of the realities of nannying in the United States, including the issues of worker exploitation, treatment of nannies from foreign countries, and dysfunctional rich families.

The novel prompted speculation about the true identity of Mr. and Mrs. X (though the authors insisted that they are not based on any one couple that they worked for), as well as discussion about the nature of the relationship between parents and nannies. Referring to the latter, Kraus told Melissa Biggs Bradley of Town & Country, "Our intent was a literary journey. We wanted to give people a great laugh and a good cry. But we are thrilled that the book is inspiring so much discussion about a topic we believe there was far too much silence on."

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