** I’ve started a new Facebook-based book club! Learn more HERE.**
This month’s book is: The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Summary (from BN.com):
One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless—bordering on masochistic. Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employers Hermès bag. Those who take it personally need not apply.
Who wouldn’t want this job? Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn’t work, cook, clean, or raise her own child has a smooth day.
When the Xs marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humor. Over nine tense months, Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.
Discussion Questions (some questions taken from other sources):
1. What is your first impression of the book? What do you think of the cover design?
2. Which character can you relate to so far? Why?
3. Why do you think the characters are never assigned real names?
4. Considering the harsh and fickle treatment Nan receives from Mrs. X, why do you think she stays with the family?
5. What kind of person do you think Grayer will grow up to be?
Discussion Project #1 – What is your ideal Nanny? Does she play games or sing songs? Does she throw parties? What does she look like, dress, or do? Do you want a nanny like Nan, or one like Mary Poppins?
6. Would you have spoken your mind on the teddy bear tape recorder before leaving the X’s household for good? Why do you think Nanny erased her initial outburst? How long would you be able to hold your tongue if found in a comparable work situation?
7. If you had the money that the X’s had and could enrich your child’s life with exotic foods, violin lessons, private schooling and French classes, would you and why? What do you think is appropriate for a child and what crosses the line?
Discussion Project #2 – Create a small “Nanny Wanted” newspaper listing here in the comments section advertising for a nanny.
8. How much responsibility should a nanny take in raising her employer’s child? Do you think Nanny will stay in the child-care profession after this experience?
9. If you already hire a nanny, does this book change your views about them? What about one you may hire in the future?
10. After reading this book, how likely are you to hire a nanny?
11. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why?