The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
See, this right here is a prime example of why I don’t pre-plan my monthly TBRs. A week ago, I hadn’t even heard of The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani. I made the fateful error of asking my cousin “whatchu reading these days?” Her excitement while telling me the synopsis of the thriller set in Paris and translated from French made me mosey on over to Libby to borrow the 6-hour audiobook while we were on the phone. For four days, the other books I was reading were forsaken.
After having two children, Myriam decides to rejoin the workforce as a lawyer. Though they can barely afford it, Myriam and her husband hire Louise to be a nanny for their kids. They’re ecstatic when she throws herself into cooking, cleaning, mending clothes, hosting kiddie parties, and staying late when Myriam works late. Louise becomes indispensable to the family dynamic so much so that there’s a feeling of dread the reader, Myriam, and even Louise feel when the young wife and mother seeks to disentangle the quiet nanny from their lives.
I enjoyed reading this thriller, whose first chapter and opening line is “the baby is dead.” Subsequent (long) chapters are named after non-main characters who serve as witnesses and give us a better view and understanding of Louise’s past, including being a young and poor widow. Early on, I remember asking “who the hell is Stephanie?” The novel has an abrupt ending. Not quite a cliffhanger, but it did cause me to doublecheck that it hadn’t somehow skipped ahead to the credits. Had it been a movie, it wouldn’t be a fade to black, but a cut to black.
I can’t wait to dive into the author’s backlist of titles. She’s dubbed a national bestseller, so I hope I’m not disappointed.
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