The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds.
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family's chic apartment in Paris's upscale t
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)
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 e ...more
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
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
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 ...more
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.
In an interview with The Guardi ...more
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 ...more
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 – ...more
Then I come to the end!! I turn the page and there were the acknowledgements! I’m like what the hell! I sat here all excited and you gonna end like that! I’m stumped!
I was about to toss my tablet, but no, not the tablet. Then I thought, 1 ass Star I’m giving you!!! Th ...more
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 childre ...more
7th Favorite Read of 2019 Award
Addendum: I forgot to mention in my original review that I was compelled to read this because GR friend Roger B. wrote a glowing review of the novel read in French. Thanks so much Roger :)
Louise is a middle aged nanny who has disintegrated many times in her life. She is poor, she is immature, she is immaculate and she is severely damaged. She loves with a ferocity and is tossed aside by middle c ...more
I waited - patiently- for my library-ebook turn.
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
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
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.
When Myriam decides to return to work she realises that she needs a nanny. She is a brilli ...more
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
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
The book starts with the graphic description of a child being murdered by the family’s nanny. In one of the most gruesome ...more
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
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.
Most of the way through I thought it was going to be a 5 star read. However the ending was slightly disappointing as it did not explain anything. I think this was deliberate however this left me feeling a little unsatisfied.
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
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
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
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
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
Lullaby has a compelling premise and discovering what warped, demented reason the nanny could possibly have for doing something so heinous kept me turning the pages. Except we never really find out. You could read that opening scene showing the immediate aftermath of the killings, leave it there and still have the same impression as someone who reads the whole thing! The following 200 pages in Leila Slimani’s Prix Goncourt-winning b ...more
|YA Buddy Readers'...: Lullaby by Leila Slimani - Starting 22nd September 2019||16||30||Sep 27, 2019 01:48PM|
|Play Book Tag: The Perfect Nanny / Leila Slimani. 3.5 stars||1||12||Sep 22, 2019 01:45PM|
|Crime, Mysteries ...: The Perfect Nanny By Leila Slimani (No Spoilers) - February 2019||7||43||Apr 28, 2019 03:57PM|
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
Articles featuring this book
‘You shouldn’t try to understand everything. Children are just like adults. There’s nothing to understand.”