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The Perfect Nanny

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  82,874 ratings  ·  9,005 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition for ISBN 9780143132172.

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 upsca
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 ta…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)
Kelly It clearly did disturb the Massies, but at the same time, to fire her would have meant that they had to put their jobs on hold to look for someone els…moreIt clearly did disturb the Massies, but at the same time, to fire her would have meant that they had to put their jobs on hold to look for someone else. It would have disrupted life. She cooked, cleaned and took care of the children. It was easier and more desireable to turn a blind eye. I think a lot of the novel was focused on career vs. children. Myriam put her career before her children, and coincidentally, so did Louise. I'm a working mother myself, but in both cases within the novel, the "job" was the most important thing and how each woman measured their success.(less)

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Emily May
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
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure how to rate this. This book is less of a thriller and more of a character study. I normally enjoy those and liked the atmospheric writing and ramped-up tension in the beginning of this book. What intrigued me the most was the comments on societal division of work and Moroccan immigrants, especially in a setting like France which has issues with xenophobia. I wish we had gotten more critique of that, or of anything, really — there isn’t much of an outcome or many answers when you read th ...more
j e w e l s
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bejeweled
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
Nov 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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
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
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
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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
What the literal hell!! I had to read a nanny book for a challenge and thought, "Oh the library has this book! This sounds good!" I’m binge reading it because it reeled me in, I’m all like, HOLY EVIL GINGERBREAD MEN, THIS IS GOOD!

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
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, fiction
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 –
Jim Fonseca
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 childre
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jaidee by: Roger Brunyate
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "the forgotten, the forlorn, the enraged, the desperate" stars !!!

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
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 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
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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.

Apr 28, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
The Perfect Nanny Leïla Slimani- (Sam Taylor- translator) is a 2018 Penguin Books publication. (First published in 2016)

A missed opportunity- but still a deeply disturbing story

Myriam, a lawyer, took a break from her career after having her children. Now, she is ready to return to work and is looking for a reliable nanny.

An incredible stroke of luck brings Louise into their lives. Louise is quite possibly the best nanny since Mary Poppins. Before long she has nearly become a part of the famil
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
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
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
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
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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


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
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
“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
First book of 2019 is finished, and unfortunately it was a total snooze fest. This is a "thriller" that starts off with an intense scene where you discover that the nanny has killed the two kids she is watching, and then the rest of the book is showing all the lead up to that... but my god this book is so freaking boring. If it wasn't for that promising first chapter I would have probably DNF'ed this and I almost wish I did because it never went anywhere. I also disliked the writing style, even ...more
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
Emily B
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The perfect nanny is a very good character study that is wonderfully written however it is not a thriller as described on the front cover. It was easy to read and flowed well. I probably could have read it all in one go if given the time to do so.

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.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, 2018-read
No wonder Slimani hit a nerve and won the Prix Goncourt with this book: She touches on some very inconvenient truths and common societal problems that seem extremely hard to resolve. "Lullaby" talks about gender roles, modern servants, the class system, marital rivalry, and loneliness (and not in the cutesie Eleanor Oliphant kind-of-way) in modern France. It does not come as a surprise that French President Emmanuel Macron chose Slimani as his personal representative for the promotion of French ...more
Diana | Book of Secrets
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
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
Sam Quixote
A nanny kills the two kids of a young Parisian couple – but why?

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
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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

Articles featuring this book

Has it been a while since you've explored the mystery and thriller genre? Well, you're in luck because you are about to discover a lot of great...
187 likes · 115 comments
“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.” 20 likes
“Solitude was like a drug that she wasn’t sure she wanted to do without.” 10 likes
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