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A Perfect Arrangement

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2.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  299 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
"Mirella and Howard Cook-Goldman are living the American dream - two careers, two kids, a golden retriever, a historic colonial home in a quaint New England village - and it's a nightmare. Both children are troubled, the house is a wreck, Howard's architectural career has stalled just as Mirella's law practice is taking off. Plus the au pair just quit." "Then one damp spri ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 659)
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Jenny Karraker
Jul 03, 2012 Jenny Karraker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this on someone's list and decided to read it. I found it very slow and not very interesting. Author explores the life of a wealthy Bostonian couple who struggle with the challenges of juggling 2 careers with raising children plus trying to keep their marriage intact. The nanny seems like a God send, but you know something isn't quite right about the while thing. Wanting closure, I skimmed through the book to found out what happens at the end. I don't think I'll read anything else by this ...more
L.N. Cronk
The description labels this book as "suspenseful", which is why I gave it such a low rating. The only suspense was waiting for something exciting to happen. It was more of a character study and the "events" at the end were anti-climatic, in my opinion. Nothing shocking, nothing surprising, nothing really original. If the book's description had not led me to believe the book was going to be exciting, I would have given it a higher rating.
Beth Farnsworth
Feb 14, 2014 Beth Farnsworth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What was the purpose of this book? Waste of my time.
Joe
Dec 04, 2012 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why this book was written
Frances
Apr 06, 2014 Frances rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book seemed to have great promise, but ran out of steam towards the end. The nanny, Randi, was built up to be a potential psychopath, but eventually appeared to be much more of a victim. The stresses of working parents coping with a child with severe autism were explored, but could have been much more fully developed by the author.
Katie Kenig
Mar 06, 2008 Katie Kenig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
The last approximately ten percent of this book left me stunned and feeling more than a little unsettled.

It may have been my own history working as a nanny in my early twenties that made the character of Randi, the nanny in this novel, more compelling to me than the driven career-woman mother. Perhaps it was that I feel more of a connection to stay-at-home mothers and the mother in this novel treated them a little bit disdainfully that made me more on the nanny's "side". Whatever it was, I wasn'
...more
Lori
Sep 27, 2012 Lori rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not suspenseful. The characters were bland and unlikeable. I think the author tried to eek out reader empathy but it fails. I skimmed the entire novel because I wanted to discover the disturbing event touted on the jacket. There was nothing disturbing or thrilling at all about this pedestrian tale of middle-class people who live a life of ingratitude and then screwing up what they have.
Tiffany Garcia
Nov 27, 2007 Tiffany Garcia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This sounded like a really good book and how the nanny was going to be so bad, it was nothing like that. She just got attached to the autistic son and the mother couldn't handle it. Could have been great.
Aimee
Feb 13, 2009 Aimee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
O.K. A little creepy and the family dynamic frusterated me.
Saya Hashimoto
Nov 20, 2007 Saya Hashimoto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shades of A.M Homes, always a good thing.
Ann
Dec 17, 2010 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Roxanne Robinson and Meg Wolitzer
Howard and Miranda are a two-income, two-kid family in a pretty New England town. He's an architect, about to land his first big independent project. She's a lawyer with an exhausting workload and an even more exhausting daily commute. Since the nanny left, their life is chaos. So when the employment agency sends them Randi (She cooks! She cleans! She crafts!), they can't believe their good luck. So Randi moves in. And things calm down...or do they? While peace and order may reign in the househo ...more
Lain
Nov 30, 2007 Lain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of this book had me from "go." A double-income-two-kid couple is in search of a new nanny, and Randi seems to be the answer to their prayers. But as she becomes more and more indispensable, the Cook-Goldman marriage begins to unravel at the edges. Is Randi a willing participant to the family's demise, or just an unwitting bystander? The larger story is about secrets and the things we know but don't admit, even to ourselves.

I'm all for authors keeping a light touch, but seriously...
...more
Tolly
Jun 06, 2015 Tolly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted more oomph out of the secret. . . Or an angrier ending. . . Just more! It was hard to like the wife, the husband was likable, the nanny didn't have much of a personality. A lot of potential. I hope she gets better as an author because it was fairly close to being great!
Lettie Cox
I really liked this book until the end. Such an abrupt ending. I don't forsee a sequel because it didn't really leave loose ends BUT ugh it could have been so much better even if it left you hanging.
Susan
Feb 21, 2015 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marriage, kids, a nanny ... An intense look at changing dynamics within a New England household.
Kim
Feb 04, 2016 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So hard to find good help. A bad nanny story.
Andrea MacPherson
Sep 10, 2013 Andrea MacPherson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Suzanne Berne. As with A Crime in the Neighbourhood, clear and empathetic characters, fluid prose. Where Crime used a more dramatic plot line, A Perfect Arrangement is much more subtle. This novel explores the demands of marriage, parenthood, worklife--the modern trifecta. Berne guides us through difficulties in the Goodman-Cook's marriage, brought to a head by the arrival of a new and secretive nanny, Randi.

Really enjoyed the ease of the prose, the authentic drawing of the
...more
Dana
Dec 15, 2015 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5/3 stars
Sally Whitehead
Well written in many ways, and builds tension in a nice steady way, but the ending is ultimately disappointing. Whilst I appreciate that the domestic "drama" created is purposefully more subtle and corrosive as opposed to the sense of shock the novel somehow leads you to expect, somehow in the closing 30 pages, it just doesn't work. The way the character of Randi, the nanny is dealt with,both during and after the climax, feels wasteful and incomplete. I much preferred Berne's first novel.
Mandy
Dec 05, 2008 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was almost like the movie the hand that rocks the craddle. It was full of detail that went on and on. I wanted to read about what happen to Randi when she left besides the postcard. I wanted to find out what happen to Howard after the town meeting. How did he walk out of there. The writer seemed to try to create suspens but all that I felt was created was annoying.
Jan
Mar 30, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was not one of my favorites -- I had never read anything by this author and based upon this book will probably not read another one. The story line had potential but just feel that the characters went no where to keep the story line interesting.
Ann
Oct 27, 2013 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The narrator on the audiobook spoke painfully slowly and way too close to the mic. It's hard to skim passed the slow parts on an audiobook, and the author dwells on the mundane. I was expecting more suspense but it was more anxiety among the characters.
Barbara Wood
I was eager to learn what the nanny's secret was and I was disappointed when it was revealed. The ending was anti-climatic.
Renee
May 13, 2013 Renee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i think the ending could have been better - seemed like the author just couldnt figure out how to end it and just put anything there, as much as she tried to come up with a suspensful nanny in this book, it could have been better.
Chelsea
Nov 10, 2010 Chelsea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Suzanne Berne's writing style was interesting, jumping back and forth between the perspectives of different characters, but this was basically the only thing I enjoyed about this book.
Debra Morris
Jul 09, 2011 Debra Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book; it's an interesting read. I could empathize with the different characters and I thought that's what made the book so compelling.
Featherbooks
May 12, 2008 Featherbooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An architect, his lawyer-wife and their two troubled children find the "perfect" nanny and their lives unravel.
Reminiscent of Anne Tyler.
Terri
Oct 10, 2011 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was pretty good, good enough to keep reading to the end. I might read another book by this author. It was actually a bit of a bizarre ending.
Booksdingle
very similar to'the hand that rocks the cradle' unnerving but not as disturbing as I thought it would be and the ending was a let down
Linda
Nov 14, 2011 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Goldmans are living the American Dream but have no time to enjoy it until the ideal nanny appears, but she isn't what she seems.
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