The Nanny Diaries provides an insightful social commentary on Manhattan's elite families. Though the novel is fiction, the authors have actually experienced being at the bottom of this social hierarchy and this is reflected in their writing. The members of New York's upper echelons are portrayed as caricatures of people that readers will not want to admit really exist. The children's names are comical at best; who can take a child with a name like Carson Spender seriously, especially when he is four? The Nanny Diarieslooks closely at the vapidity of wealth and privilege. With access to anything and everything they could possibly want, the elite seem desperately unhappy in spite of it all. McLaughlin and Kraus show that the old adage is true; money cannot buy happiness. Nevertheless, the rich are different from the rest of us and they want us to know it.
The theme of family underscores the novel as well. It is remarkable the lengths to which these people are willing to go to promote the idea that they are a traditional family in which the parents are actively raising the children. The idea that the parents are involved is comical. They neither drop off nor pick up their children. They do not attend Mommy and Me classes. Nannies accompany them on family vacations. They even go so far as to skip their children's interviews with the private schools to which they are so desperate to gain admission. In the world of the filthy rich, children are merely an accessory. Further, the people who work with them are dispensable. The world of nannies appears to be a revolving door through which many pass. They are quickly dismissed when they make a request that the family feels is selfish in some way, such as attending one's own graduation (as in the case of Nanny). Although The Nanny Diaries is a satire and is loosely based on the experiences of two former nannies, the novel certainly does not reflect the experiences of every wealthy family...
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