Review

The Nanny

by Melissa Nathan



"Twenty-three-year-old Jo Green knows that if she has to spend one
more night in ultra-provincial Niblet-Upon-Avon she'll go
completely bonkers!" So she impulsively answers an ad in the paper,
packs her rucksack and heads off to London for a nanny position
with the Fitzgerald family.

However, the ad failed to mention that the Fitzgeralds are a bit
dysfunctional and Jo is no sooner hired than she begins longing for
the relative serenity of Niblet, her boyfriend Shaun and her own
comfortable parents. She is so ambivalent about her new position
that she doesn't even unpack, just taking out of the suitcase what
she needs for that day. Poor Jo is alone in a strange city,
surrounded by bickering kids and sniping parents. How is one to
nanny properly under these conditions? As the subtitle says, "She's
no Mary Poppins!"

But Jo is nothing if not resourceful. As she weighs her own suite,
TV, DVD, cell phone and car against her predictable hometown and
boring boyfriend, she begins trying to win over the children and
gain some credibility with the frazzled parents. A comedy of errors
ensues when Josh, Mr. Fitz's son from a previous marriage, comes
home and has to sleep in Jo's suite. This is where the romance
comes in.

Although THE NANNY is basically a romantic comedy, Melissa Nathan
presents enough elements of social mores to give one pause. Aside
from the obvious snobbery and showiness that often accompanies the
working wealthy, there are more subtle examples. For instance,
while being very selective when interviewing nannies, Vanessa
Fitzgerald exclaims to her husband, "Harsh? This is the person
who'll be bringing up our children! Of course we're harsh!" How
easily we take for granted that working parents will have someone
else raising the children that they are working so hard to provide
for. It is no wonder that many have decided that it makes more
sense to have one parent stay home and actually raise their own
children.

THE NANNY is totally engaging; especially welcome is the author's
delightful way with words and her easy knack for humor. American
readers will enjoy the English slang and have fun trying to figure
out the various definitions of "sod"!

The Nanny
by Melissa Nathan

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction, Short Stories
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon A
  • ISBN-10: 0060560118
  • ISBN-13: 9780060560119