The Nanny Diaries

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
The Nanny Diaries Book Poster Image
Spoonfuls of adult content in modern Poppins tale.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Young boy raised by college-aged nannies, one after another, while self-involved parents ignore his desperate cries for their attention. Parents take advantage of working relationship with Nanny.


Boy becomes very ill with fever, cough. Nanny worried and scared about his health.


Nanny has sex with boyfriend; Mr. X has affair with another woman.


"F--k," "S--t," "Ass," "Bitch," "Assholes," "Hell," "Damn," "Motherf--ker," are examples of profanity used occasionally by Nanny and often by other adults and children in story.


Constant name-dropping of retailers and designer goods.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking cigarettes, drinking hard alcohol socially and in private, references to smoking pot and crack.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that teens may want to read this book because of the 2007 movie starring Scarlett Johansson. The movie is rated PG-13, but the book is better for older teens and young adults. Nanny drinks alcohol, uses profanity, and has a sexual relationship with a college-age boyfriend; she also develops a close bond to a 4-year-old boy and treats him with kindness, responsiveness, and love. A very materialistic culture is on display, and younger readers probably won't catch the satire.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynicolkoenders June 7, 2010
Parent of a 4 and 7-year-old Written byboyita April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written bydoglover0012 April 9, 2008


i liked it. it was better than the movie. the movie was for kids this is for teens.
Teen, 13 years old Written byAleksandra April 9, 2008

Great Book

This is a wonderful, hysterically funny, and touching book. I couldn't put it down! An iffy if you are 13 or under. There's a lot of profanity, and s... Continue reading

What's the story?

An NYU student in her senior year takes part-time job as Nanny for a 4-year-old boy in the Upper East side of Manhattan. She develops a strong, caring relationship with the boy and becomes quite concerned about the lack of relationship that exists between the boy and his parents. Her job includes picking him up at school, toting him to extracurricular activities, and becoming a personal assistant for the mother. She also meets a Harvard boy in the building and starts a relationship.

Come the end of spring, a timing conflict ensues with her graduation and a family vacation. She must advocate for herself and continue to be the only stable adult in the boy's life, yet her integrity is in question.

Is it any good?

Authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, both former Manhattan nannies themselves, must have had a cathartic experience and a few good belly laughs writing Nanny's story. To pay for college, Nanny takes a "part-time" Nanny gig, and thus sells her soul to an Upper East Side 40-something mother who wears her child like he's the latest accessory. In the meantime, Nanny is the only stable adult in the kid's life.

The discovery of an affair makes the guilty, overworked, gruff father even more absent and the wife (who met her husband as the mistress in his first marriage) scheming to trap him with another baby. NANNY DIARIES is quick, engrossing read, not only because of Nanny's humorous, and at times sad, ups and downs in her job, but as a glimpse at the just-as-messy way the other half lives.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the entitlement issues demonstrated by Mrs. X. Does Nanny advocate for herself? How could she have changed her work situation sooner? How does the high turnover in this nanny position affect this boy's development? Parents can point out the diverse backgrounds of the childcare workers Nanny meets. Why do you think these intelligent, educated women have chosen childcare as a profession?

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