By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated March 15, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

With this hilarious, vicious satire of upper-class family life in Manhattan, McLaughlin and Kraus, ex-nannies who know of what they speak, position themselves as contempo Edith Whartons. When ”Nanny” (as she’s called throughout the book), a full-time university student and part-time babysitter, is hired to take care of a Park Avenue tot, she becomes embroiled in a life filled with lies and utterly devoid of parental affection. What saves Diaries from being a merely pathetic little-boy-lost tale is the authors’ carefully calibrated sense of compassion and their delicious sense of the absurd.