Book Review: The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

I don’t know where to begin with this book because I wanna be honest with you. After reading “The Perfect Nanny“, I felt really incomplete (for the lack of a better word?). I just felt like I needed more. I felt like the story wasn’t really over. I wasn’t left with many answers. Maybe that was Leila’s whole point? Who am I to know any better! Like actually, I’m not an author. I don’t have any novels published that I know of lol. Leila’s book made it on the list of New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2018 so she probably knows something I don’t know. All I’m saying is that I was disappointed by it, but I guess I can’t really say much else until after I’ve explained what the book is about.

The Perfect Nanny” starts off with a pretty serious and disturbing scene. A woman comes home to her two children dead in the bathroom. Who did it? No one knows. But that’s how the novel starts off and during the entire time I was reading this book I was asking myself, “Who did it?” And “How did this happen?”

As a reader, you don’t find out until the very end of the novel. Me, personally, I think the title gives it away a little. I hope this isn’t ruining anything for you!

Anyways, after this short chapter/introduction/opening scene(?), you get introduced to this couple. Myriam and Paul. They’re married and have two kids. They have a daughter named Mila and a son named Adam. Myriam went to school to be a lawyer and she was really good at it. However, she got pregnant and her dreams of being a lawyer were put on hold. She then had a second child and had to put it off a bit further. It wasn’t like she was itching to go back to her dream. Well she didn’t realize she was because she actually quite liked being a stay-at-home mother, and she loved her kids. The reason she wasn’t working was because she was mostly afraid and worried to leave her children in the hands of anyone else. One day Myriam runs into Patrick, an old classmate of hers, and he offers her a job at his firm! After her conversation with him, she realizes she really does want to work and have a work life. She knew it sounded selfish but there was a void inside her and she felt like she needed this. She did’t want to live solely for her kids. She had a passion. She wanted to be a lawyer and she was going to be. They just had to find a nanny first.

They hold interviews for a nanny with this list of crazy high standards. It really starts to look like they’ll never find a nanny until they meet Louise. Right away Louise connects with Myriam’s children and Myriam and Paul hire her. Louise cooks, cleans, hosts kiddie parties and even stays late without complaining. She lives to be apart of this family and to take care of Mila and Adam. Myriam and Paul are so grateful and feel so lucky to have found a nanny like Louise that they invite her on vacation with them! Everything seems perfect. Myriam is doing great at her law firm. Paul is signing great talent at the record label he works at. He’s even creating his own music! But as they grow together and learn more about Louise, they start to learn that there’s more to her than they think there is. And I’ll leave it at that.

I know it sounds obvious that Louise is the culprit. Or does Myriam go off the rails because she can’t handle being away from her kids? What if she resents Louise because of the kids’ attachment to her and ends up doing something she regrets? What if she planned to walk into the bathroom to find her dead children there so she would never be considered a suspect? (It’s getting a little far fetched, isn’t it?) You’ll have to read to find out more!

Overall, this book was a pretty quick read. I think I finished it in less than a week. I only have time to read during my 40min commute to work and back and sometimes on my break. I think I did a pretty good job getting through it! Maybe I’m being too harsh about this book. Maybe it’s because I would have done it differently. Or maybe I have the wrong perspective? I think maybe I took this story a little too literally and wasn’t looking at it in the way Leila wanted me to? I know a lot of this doesn’t make sense without context. Just know that the murder of the children is weird. I wanted a more descriptive ending. I wanted to know what happened to our couple! There was so much buildup and it left me unsatisfied. As a side note, I also think whenever I stopped reading this book, I was completely lost and found it hard to figure out where I was and what had just happened. That’s probably not a good sign, right? I guess it’s pretty obvious that this wasn’t the novel for me. I loved that it was based in Paris, France! But I think I would have to give “The Perfect Nanny” a 5/10. I wanna say before I go that I have considered that maybe Leila wanted that bit of mystery at the end. Maybe her technique was to keep the reader guessing? Or maybe she wanted to keep it open and for me to create an ending for myself?

I’m probably overthinking this. You’ll realize from reading these “book reviews” that I tend to think WAY TOO MUCH. If you’ve read this book, tell me what you think! Tell me I’m an idiot! I just know I wasn’t happy with the ending. You can’t love them all, right?

Until next time!

– Tiny ❤

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