Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Nanny Returns, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Nanny Returns, the sequel to The Nanny Diaries, is a rather disappointing novel. Twelve years after the disastrous end to Nanny’s employment with the Xs, Nanny is back in New York after a number of years living overseas with her husband, Ryan (previously known as the Harvard Hottie). Now she’s an educational consultant, called in to help the Jarndyce Academy with their staffing issues. One day, Nanny’s former charge, Grayer, ends up on her doorstep, and Nanny finds herself one again thrust into the world of the Manhattan elite and their children.

Well, I felt a little bit let down by this novel. Well, really, a lot. The Nanny Diaries had charm and wit; this book simply fell flat for me. One-dimensional, stereotypical characters abound; the prose is over overwritten, and the people-don’t-talk-like-this-in-real-life dialogue really got to me after a while. In The Nanny Diaries, I found myself emotionally invested in Nanny and HH’s budding relationship; but since he’s not really present in the book (he’s away dealing with a grain shortage or something), I found that I didn’t care about him all that much. Nanny’s character was also frustrating at times; she kept seeing that things were wrong (eg, a teenager nearly OD’ing on Xanax and alcohol, and nobody seemed to think anything was unusual in that), but she never seemed to do anything about it. In fact, for most of the book, she was simply an observer, not a vital part of the action. In the end, as with HH, I simply couldn’t find it within myself to care much about what happened to her.

I frequently found myself having to re-read parts of the book, because often the authors never really made it clear exactly what was going on. The authors make a stab at humor, in Nanny’s little “asides” every now and then, but I didn’t find this book funny ay all. Grayer gets a bit of character development in this book, but his younger brother, Stilton, is basically a mini-version of Grayer in the Nanny Diaries, without the same kind of emotional pull. I enjoyed The Nanny Diaries, and I’m sad to say that this doesn’t live up to it.


Andi said...

The Nanny Diaries seems like it would be hard to follow up no matter what the plot choices. I would expect the magic to be gone once Grayer grows up.

Kathleen said...

I'm so disappointed to learn that the sequel doesn't live up to the original. I really enjoyed The Nanny Diaries but don't think I would rush to read this one based on your review.

Claire Hazzard said...

I just finished reading this, and was also disappointed. The private school sub-plot didn't ring true, and the tiny details and observations that made the original so compelling were missing.


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