Literary Criticism and Significance
Each chapter begins with a fitting quote from beloved figures such as Eloise, Mary Poppins, and Peter Pan to set the tone. A child development major at NYU, Nan has had the very best education possible and the experience necessary to be an excellent nanny. As Nanny says, "the only thing I don't have is an umbrella that makes me fly." In stark contrast to these upbeat references, the novel is peppered with "Nanny Facts" which reveal often shocking tidbits about the profession to the reader. For example, references are not checked so long as the applicant is white, speaks French, has attended the theater lately and has college educated parents.
One of the most striking elements of this novel is that the main characters are given generic names like Mrs. X and Nanny; only the children seem to have their own identities. In one way, this writing style makes readers feel as if they are immersed in a juicy expose. This stylistic trait seems to be a hallmark of the authors; the protagonist of their second novel, Citizen Girl, is Girl. The authors appear to be making a statement about how people in the lower and middle class are viewed by those in the upper class; employees are hardly worth getting to know and are easily replaced.
Published in 2002, The Nanny Diaries was a trendsetter. As a result of its widespread popularity, many similar stories have hit bookstores in the past few years. Examples include The Manny and You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again. In 2007, The Nanny Diaries was released in theaters nationwide. The film starred Scarlett Johansson as Nanny (Annie Braddock), Nicholas Art as Grayer, Laura Linney as Mrs. X and Paul Giamatti as Mr. X.
Authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus partnered up again in 2005 to write Citizen Girl, an equally sarcastic and satirical look at recent college graduates who have entered New York City's relentless work force. And in December 2009, readers will no doubt devour Nanny Returns, in which Nan will return from living in Europe for more than a decade with her beloved HH, whom she wed. Grayer, now age 16, and his younger brother, Stilton, will reappear in need of Nanny's guidance during his parents' divorce.