The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani

The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani
Paperback, 228 pages
Published January 9th, 2018 by Penguin Books
(first published August 18th, 2016)

When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family's chic apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau.

My thoughts…

The Perfect Nanny opens with a horrendous and engaging first chapter; two young children have been murdered. The story then moves back in time to the before; back to when Myriam decides to return to her career as a high-powered lawyer looking to make partner early and Paul is a music producer who works with recording artists.

They hire a nanny to look after their two children. Louise walks into the lives of Myriam and her husband, and completely surpasses their expectations of what a nanny should be. They hired her and paid her just to be a nanny, but she cooks and cleans and does laundry. They begin to take advantage of Louise.

Soon, Louise is so inserted in every aspect of their lives and it is hard to imagine being without her. The only extra they ever do for her is to take her with them on vacation in Greece (so she can watch the children, of course). As they grow more closely and more entwined, Myriam and Paul begin to think that Louise is becoming a burden. Strange things start happening and Myriam begins to wonder if there is a darker side to this perfect nanny.

It's a strange book, mostly concerned with daily life and the interactions between the main few characters. This story is more character-driven than a plot-moving one and I wouldn't even say it's thrilling or suspenseful since we already know what happened. This story does a good job of creating uncertainty and never really showing a clear answer why she did it. We also see little of the aftermath. Instead, you read the entire book knowing something terrible is coming.

For me, this book was originally a four/five star read, that is, up until the ending. The ending only makes everything worse. Not only is one of the worst endings, but it made everything much more mysterious and suspicious. It left me asking questions and feeling a bit dissatisfied.

2 comments:

  1. I hate is when a book that you have been enjoyed ends badly. It sounds like a pretty interesting story though. Great review!

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    1. It was interesting. I just can't get over that ending. I will definitely think twice about reading any future books from this author.

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