January 18, 2010

Nanny Returns

So, book #3 was Nanny Returns, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. I was sort of prepared not to like this book. I am not sure why - I liked The Nanny Diaries well enough. But I did like it!

The story takes place years after Nanny left her charge, Grayer X. She and her husband have just moved back to New York after being abroad, and Grayer shows up drunk on their doorstep wanting some explanations. And thus she becomes embroiled in the X family troubles all over again, while dealing with her own marriage and life decisions.

Lots of of-the-moment (hate that phrase) pop culture references, which normally bug me - but I immediately, if reluctantly, related to all of them (Trish McEvoy mini makeup brushes, lululemon yoga wear), so I can't complain. I guess that just means I am the authors' target audience.

Also proving that I am their target demographic was Nan's running concern about whether or not to have children. And if yes, then when? She struggles with the question, saying to her mother:
"I want to hear it's all going to be okay."
"Well, of course it's going to be okay. It just might not include

Further, I feel like in the first book, Nan was such a do-gooder and firmly on the right side of things (which I guess she was, if you're comparing her to Mr. and Mrs. X) and in this book, people call her out on her righteous indignation. I liked that. She comes off as a know-it-all but doesn't always get away with it. (Maybe I'm mis-remembering the first book but the point remains.)

I am intrigued by the whole co-authoring process. I went to a talk by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson a couple of years ago... they co-author a series of Peter Pan adventure books for kids (the first book is Peter and the Starcatchers - a prequel to Barrie's original Peter Pan). I wrote about this before. They explained that Barry, being a humorist, would focus on the funny characters, and he would write their chapters. Pearson, an author of thrillers, was assigned the darker, scarier characters - pirates and such. So they wrote their drafts, and then they would "ping-pong" the chapters back and forth to each other via e-mail, and each of them would have the chance to edit and contribute to each chapter. I don't know how Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. Kraus did it, but I think about those things when I read a co-authored book. I wonder if it's difficult.

So in the end I found the book to be more interesting than I had anticipated. A nice surprise.

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