Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: Nanny Returns

By Melissa Amster

When I heard that there was a sequel to "The Nanny Diaries," I eagerly anticipated reading it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy. I finally received the opportunity to read it, but was left with mixed opinions.

After her employment with the X family was terminated, Nan moved overseas with her sweetheart (The Harvard Hottie) for the next twelve years. After returning to New York, she and her (now) husband find themselves living in a construction disaster zone. Her husband is away all the time and she's working for a school that doesn't have their act together. Meanwhile, Grayer X (her old charge) is now 16 and mixed up in the world of drugs and alcohol. He seeks her out to help him and his little brother, Stilton, while their parents are going through a messy divorce. It's not long before Nan finds herself dragged back into their drama.

What I liked about "Nanny Returns" was the creative way Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus decided to bring back the characters for some sort of twisted reunion. That as much as Nan wished to avoid the X's, she couldn't stay away for long. I liked how the stress levels escalated for Nan so quickly between her home, her job and her dealings with the X family's drama. The characters were colorful and the dialogue was comical. I especially liked the sarcastic responses going on in Nan's mind. The scenery and characters were well described and easy to visualize, as well.

Having said that, what didn't work for me, and what slowed down the reading process, was that I felt like I was dumped into the middle of a conversation and had no way to backtrack or keep up with what was going on. I had to read paragraphs and sentences several times to make sure I wasn't missing something crucial. I know some of this was to aid in Nan's confusion (such as with her job), but it threw off my momentum while reading the story and it took an extra effort to get through it so that I could enjoy the "meat and potatoes" at the heart of the story. While the writing seemed very sophisticated with lots of ten dollar words, it was a bit much for me.

Overall, it was a fun story and I liked not knowing what to expect. It was full of irony, as well. I liked Nan's relationship with the X boys and enjoyed seeing how she would handle each curveball that was sent her way. I think it's worth checking out, especially if you liked "The Nanny Diaries" as much as I did. And if you can explain to me what I was having trouble understanding, then more power to you.


Nicki Wheir said...

Thank you for the review! And we appreciate hearing we didn't slow down to explain enough--we love writers who leave a lot of blanks, like Aaron Sorkin and Sophia Coppola--but that doesn't always translate to books! We are editing our next book now and we are keeping your feedback in mind, so thank you!

Melissa said...

You're welcome. Glad my feedback was helpful to you.