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The Perfect Nanny

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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  44,101 ratings  ·  5,513 reviews
When Myriam, a mother and brilliant French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work, she and her husband are forced to look for a caretaker for their two young children. They are thrilled to find Louise: the perfect nanny right from the start. Louise sings to the children, cleans the family's beautiful apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late wheneve ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Penguin Books (first published August 18th 2016)
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Pat I had the same question. Obviously the Massies paid her the going rate for nannies - they specifically didn't want to hire an illegal, who could be…moreI had the same question. Obviously the Massies paid her the going rate for nannies - they specifically didn't want to hire an illegal, who could be taken advantage of, and Mr. Massie said himself that (presumably after taxes and the nanny's salary were subtracted from the wife's wages, there wouldn't be much left, but he was willing for her to go back to work if it would make his wife happier. She wasn't paying her bills, and she hardly had to buy food as she ate mostly at her employers' so where did her salary go? Did she just not realize she had it? I find it hard to believe she was so destitute. (Of course once Mrs. Massie made partner her income as a lawyer could have increased substantially.)

A lot has been made of this book being about classism and the employer's being entitled and taking advantage of their nanny, but don't see that. The Massies were hardly living a glittering life. They both worked, their apartment was so small they partitioned their bedroom out of their living room and it was described as stifling. They both worked to exhaustion, they didn't seem to splurge much. They took one vacation a year, hardly seemed to live a high life and supported five lives on their two salaries, counting the nanny. The one indulgence mentioned is Paul buying, with some embarrassment, a second hand Rolex at a "very good price". Yet I hear this book described as a study in classism and racism, neither making any sense.

The nanny is obviously mentally challenged, she seems overwhelmed by math (according to her daughter, whose fate is also ambiguous). But the whole issue of finance is so unexplained that I wonder if the nanny simply didn't understand what she had. And so mentally challenged she didn't know how to ask for help. I don't see the Massies as being unkind or uncaring - they offered help, and when she didn't respond, they respected her -- as an adult - she was older than them - to handle her own problems. Are they to blame for not treating her as a child and forcing themselves into her life? I don't think they realized how challenged she was - frankly, as a reader I only came to the conclusion late that she was deficient in more than one respect. I came to suspect that she could do house work and play with kids but more than that was beyond her. Perhaps that's why she kept such detailed notes in her notebook.

The why of what happened is still a mystery to me. While the book was engaging I still don't like books that have such gaps in such a significant motivation. (less)
Suzanne The parents had many red flags before this, but this flag was a blaring alert. I don't understand how they could have let this one go.

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3.42  · 
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 ·  44,101 ratings  ·  5,513 reviews


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Emily May
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Where do these stories come from? They emanate from Louise, in a continual flood, without her even thinking about it, without her making the slightest effort of memory or imagination. But in what black lake, in what deep forest has she found these cruel tales where the heroes die at the end, after first saving the world?

I saw The Perfect Nanny on the Millions Most Anticipated list. It's a short book, and my library had it available to read immediately, so I thought: why not? I had very few exp
...more
Roxane
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of this intensely interior novels that are claustrophobic and incredibly engaging and disturbing. I was very aware that I was reading a translation and I have no doubt that in French, this novel is a show stopper. The translation is good but clunky at times. I suppose that is the nature of most translation.

As a portrait of a nanny who ends up murdering her charges (not a spoiler), this novel does a good job of creating ambiguity and never really showing a clear cut why of the crime.
...more
j e w e l s
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bejeweled
FIVE STARS
I still have chills days after finishing THE PERFECT NANNY. I’ve skipped over this novel many times thinking it would be the old “hand that rocks the cradle” plot. I could not have been more wrong. This unusual book got under my skin in the quietest, creepiest way possible and it deserves nothing less than 5 stars.

The story opens with a brief graphic scene of violence depicting the death of two young children at the hands of their nanny. I almost put down the book, I was afraid it wou
...more
Elena
Nov 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
She drinks and the discomfort of living, the shyness of breathing, all this anguish dissolves in the liquid sips.


This book is quite creepy and slightly gross. That wasn’t what bothered me though. Instead, it was just that it was such a boring book that I kept wondering how it became a national bestseller.

Myriam is a Moroccan-French mother who has left her career of being a lawyer because of the work her two children have put her on. Her husband, Paul, is working day and night trying to get t
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 slower-building, but gripping, stars to The Perfect Nanny! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Perfect Nanny opened with the what. There was a horrific scene to behold in this family’s home. For the entire book, I was on the edge of my seat wondering the why with tons of ambiguity and build-up at a slower-moving pace. Louise seems to be epitome of the perfect nanny, but people aren’t always who and what they appear to be. The side messages on class, privilege, and child rearing in France were interesting.

This had all
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Ammar
DNF @35%

I tried my best to get into this novel, but couldn’t.

The novel opens with a beautiful written crime scene, it’s shocking but written well.
Then it started downhill for me.. I couldn’t feel anything for Myriam, Paul, Louise, Pascale, or Milla or Adam

It felt dry, perhaps due to it being a translated work that could maybe is brilliant in French , but didn’t read well in English.
Paul Bryant
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The author says she wanted to write about nannies. You know, the uneasy ambiguity, how they’re an intimate part of your family but they’re an employee, how they’re poor (mostly black, mostly immigrant) and they live in the middle of wealth during working hours, returning each day to the other side of the tracks; how they’re everything and they have your total trust (they look after your children more than you do) and nothing (they can be got rid of just like that).

In an interview with The Guardi
...more
Jim Fonseca
Of course there is no such thing as a perfect nanny. And even though the ending of the book is given away on the very first page, I’m going to hide it in a spoiler. (view spoiler)

The story is as much about imperfect employers as it is about perfect nannies. Let me rephrase that – terrible employers. Both the young man and young woman who hire the Nanny to look after their two pre-school children
...more
Bkwmlee
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, edelweiss
3.5 stars

For me, this book was originally a solid 4 stars – that is, up until the ending (which I’ll get back to later). The opening scene was quite explosive and emotional, hooking me from the start in wanting to find out exactly what happened, why things turned out the way they did, how such a horrific tragedy occurred. We are taken back in time to the very beginning where we are introduced to the Masse family – parents Myriam and Paul who have two adorable kids, toddler Mila and baby Adam – a
...more
JanB
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story opens with the horrific description of the killing of two children by their nanny. Then the novel travels back in time to the events that led up to that day.

We know what happens but what we don't know is the why. There are no easy answers, and this book doesn't offer them. It was inspired by the true case of the nanny who killed two children in NYC in 2012, and some aspects of the crime are eerily similar. Not knowing the why makes it all the more horrific.

How can the perfect nanny,
...more
Elyse Walters
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was curious about this book....winner of the Goncourt Prize since last year. But not enough to pay for it.
I waited - patiently- for my library-ebook turn.
Long waitlist.

I actually like the book cover. It’s eye-catching. I use to wear Peter Pan collars - AS A CHILD....
But if a nanny showed up for an interview dressed in one to watch my kids...my eyebrows would raise.

What I didn’t know — is that this story was based on a true story. This is new information to me....which makes this book all th
...more
Holly  B
Buddy read with Laurie from Cozynookbks.

You will learn how the story ends on the first page of the novel. And my stomach was in knots as I read it.

Told in third person from different view points, we learn how the unspeakable ending unfolded. So we are basically going back and learning just what transpired before the tragedy. The author writes in a poetic way using descriptions that I could visualize, smell and emotionally react too. It was creepy at times with a hint of the dread to come.

Myriam
...more
Shirley Revill
OMG. The story begins with the most horrific start to a story that I have ever read. One child is dead and another child is fighting for her life. As the story progresses we start to try to understand what happened in the lives of all who are involved to get to this point. Who really knows just when the cracks start to appear. When does the madness start and what is the point that Louise goes over the edge.

When Myriam decides to return to work she realises that she needs a nanny. She is a brilli
...more
Dem
A stunning, shocking and harrowing read, a terrific character study and an extremely well written psychological thriller that is disburbing but very readable.

I very nearly passed up on this book because of its cover and title and am so glad I gave it a chance as this turned out to be exactly the type of psychological thriller that I love to read.

When Miriam decides to return to work her husband interviews a nanny for their young children. They hire what they assume is the Nanny of their drea
...more
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
Myriam gave up her career when she had her two children with her husband, Paul. Soon she found herself resenting her children and her husband and needed more from her life. Given the opportunity to go back to law, she took it. With this decision, came the choice to hire a nanny to take care of the children. Enter Louise, who seems perfect! The children love her and as time goes by, they want for nothing. Meals are made, the living space is cleaned, the children are happy... but soon resentment, ...more
leslie hamod
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this for the second time, it is a MUST READ! I caught so much more than the first read! A triumphant artistic achievement!Loved this emotional account of a couple who search for the perfect nanny. Myriam has decided to return to work. They find Louise. She cleans the French apartment and is perfect with the kids and never complains! But soon after, jealousy develops and also resentment and suspicion! This book explores the cost of ethnicity and power, class and domesticity. HIGHLY recomm ...more
Mohamed Al
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
من أكثر المناطر استفزازًا لي هي رؤية عائلة تجلس في مطعم وتلتهم ما لذّ وطاب لها من مأكولات، بينما تقف عاملتهم المنزلية خلف واجهة المطعم الزجاجية وحيدة، وربما جائعة، بانتظار أن ينتهوا من ابتلاع الأطباق التي أمامهم.

ومن أكثر الأخبار استفزازًا لي هي تلك التي تنقل جرائم العاملات المنزلية دون أن تنقل في المقابل الجرائم التي يرتكبها أصحاب المنازل ضد هؤلاء العاملات المنزليات.

أدرك بأن هناك نسبة من العاملات المنزليات ترتكب الجرائم دون أن يكون لمشغليهم سبب مباشر فيها، ولكنني أؤمن بأن الكثير من هذه الجرائم م
...more
Matt
“The Perfect Nanny” throws out conventions in the psychological suspense genre. Leila Slimani plays all of her cards in the very first line of the novel: “The baby is dead”. Slimani chooses to have the reader focus on the “how” and “why” rather than “what happened” or “who did it”. Knowing the outcome of the story actually made the book that much more interesting reading it.

The book starts with the graphic description of a child being murdered by the family’s nanny. In one of the most gruesome
...more
Erin
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Debbie Laurie
Shelves: library-borrowed
Creepy. Chilling. Disturbing.

A contemporary novel set in France, Paul and Myriam believe they have found the perfect person to take care of their young children, Mila and Adam. As we see in the beginning of the story, things end tragically, but the author takes readers on a journey to the "before". As the obsession builds, snippets from passersbys try to fill in the gaps of what led to the fateful events. Although a difficult read, I was unable to put it down and read it in one sitting.
Lisa
This novel suffers a bit from reverse IanMcEwanism.

While he more often than not builds an interesting storyline and trashes the plot on the last pages, this story is completely destroyed in the first chapter, and then the reader is left with a narrative that could have been amazing, had it not been used to such a drastic conclusion turned prelude.

The issues: racism, social justice, vulnerability, loneliness, parenthood in modern Paris society, difficulties to define boundaries between an employ
...more
Felicia
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reviewing the latest novel by Leila Slimani titled Adèle back in September, I immediately went on the search for her English debut, The Perfect Nanny. I have read both books in one sitting

NEVER EVER JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S TITLE!!

I'm sure most readers would hesitate in picking up this book thinking they are going to find the tired story of the crazy nanny that inevitably gets jealous and tries to take over the life of her employer. But I knew this wouldn't be the case. Anybody that wrote the
...more
Book of Secrets
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars → Ugh, from the very beginning, this book was chilling. Unsettling. It's not a typical thriller, more character-driven, maybe a character study of sorts. None of the characters were likable, but they were fascinating.

A young Parisian couple, Myriam and Paul, hire Louise as a nanny for their two small children. With a good reference from her previous employer, and being somewhat desperate to find childcare, they quickly welcome Louise into their lives. Oh, dear. Louise seems perfect on
...more
Helene Jeppesen
3.5 stars.
This book starts out with a bang. The very first chapter tells us of two children who have been murdered in their nursery, as well as their nurse who is the main suspect and who's found in a coma.
The rest of a book is a flashback on what led up to this horrific event. We get into depth with the parent role and how hard it can be to juggle to children and remain insane. We also get to know the children better as well as Louise, the nanny that the parents decide to hide.
Louise is basi
...more
PopiTonja
Roman godine u Francuskoj i dobitnik neke nagrade ccc
Imala sam utisak da citam ne bas najbolji deciji sastav. Kao sto rekoh citam i osecam se tupo. o.O
Roger Brunyate
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Nanny

Birdlike, blonde Louise, hardly bigger than a girl herself, is a magician with children. At her interview with the busy Massé parents in their Paris apartment, she gently takes the squalling baby Adam from his father's arms, calming him instantly, and entices the toddler Mila out of hiding by pretending that she is a princess who has disappeared. Myriam, the children's mother, returns from her first day back at work as an advocate to find that Louise has totally tidied the cramped apart
...more
Emer
I only recently heard of Leïla Slimani when French president Emmanuel Macron gave her the position of Francophone affairs minister. The Morocco-born author won the prestigious Prix Goncourt literary award for her second novel, Chanson douce, which has just now been translated into English and given the title Lullaby. It is known as The Perfect Nanny in the USA.

So I had to read this novel for myself and find out if I could believe the hype.... And I'm pleased to say that this absolutely lives up
...more
Ghita Benabbou
Contrairement au titre qui promet et laisse présager la lecture d’une histoire douce, paisible et poétique, dès la première page, une image terrifiante et sanglante d’un bébé et d’un enfant tués par leur nounou s’offre à nous. Après ce chapitre, les fils sont tirés un à un jusqu’au drame. Mais pas vraiment !
L’histoire est celle de Pascal et Myriam, un couple de jeunes parisiens mariés avec deux enfants, Mia et Adam. Myriam avait fait des études de droit mais a fini par choisir de devenir femme
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

3.5 Stars

“The baby is dead.”

I’m not exactly sure how I ended up with this book. I thought it must have been one of the suggestions from the library for the “Shelf of Suspects” challenge, but I just double-checked and it is not. Whatever way I ended up with it, I have to say that is one doozy of an opening line. I also have to say if you’re expecting a story like this . . . .



As I will freely admit I was, you’re not going to find it
...more
Issicratea
Flavour-of-the-month novels, especially thrillerish ones, are often a “fast food” experience for me; I read them to satisfy a passing craving, but I lose interest after the first couple of bites.

I felt that about the best-selling, much-touted Lullaby. It’s a Gone Girl-type domestic psychokiller novel, but I didn’t actually think it was as good as Gone Girl, Prix Goncourt or no Prix Goncourt. Leïla Slimani’s prose may sing in French, but it’s only serviceable in the English translation I read. T
...more
Eric Anderson
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Basing a psychological thriller around a nanny who murders the children she cares for makes for a terrifyingly effective sensational story, but where “Lullaby” by Leila Slimani really excels is in its sophisticated take on classism, privilege and isolation in modern-day Paris. The novel opens with the discovery of young children Adam and Mila who have been slain by their nanny Louise. How Louise came to become an integral part of this family’s life and felt driven to this gruesome end is deftly ...more
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Leïla Slimani is a French writer and journalist of Moroccan ancestry. In 2016 she was awarded the Prix Goncourt for her novel Chanson douce.

Slimani was born in Rabat, Morocco and studied later political science and media studies in Paris. After that she temporarily considered a career as an actress and began to work as a journalist for the magazine Jeune Afrique. In 2014 she published her first no
...more
“Nous ne serons heureux, se dit-elle alors, que lorsque nous n'aurons plus besoin les uns des autres. Quand nous pourrons vivre une vie à nous, une vie qui nous appartienne, qui ne regarde pas les autres. Quand nous serons libres.” 18 likes
“Solitude was like a drug that she wasn’t sure she wanted to do without.” 4 likes
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