Friday, July 13, 2018

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

Louise is the perfect nanny.  Myriam and Paul adore how Louise is amazing with their children, cleans their home, and cooks wonderful meals.  They wonder how they ever did without her.  But when Louise murders their children, they wonder, how could everything have gone so wrong?

I am not spoiling the reader as the murders have already happened on page one of this novel.  Everything else is flashback as the story alternates between Louise and Myriam’s viewpoints leading up to the murder.  There are also random other chapters from witnesses and the cop investigating it.

The back of this book advertises “The Perfect Nanny” as the “French Gone Girl” and it was picked as our July FLICKS (aka Rogue) book club pick.  I was disappointed in this book.  I found it immensely readable although the murder of children is not really my cup of tea to read about.  With knowing what the crime would be, the mystery was, why did Louise do it?  Unfortunately, I felt like I never knew why exactly she did it.  The book never actually covers the event.  It starts with the aftermath, goes through the life Louise had with the family, and then abruptly ends.  I really didn’t like the ending and felt like the book was unresolved.  I do like a good ambiguous ending.  Daphne Du Maurier is the master of them and Gone Girl had a good ambiguous ending.  A good ending in this vein makes you question what you just read and still ties the story together.  In this book, it just ended.

Louise does have angst as a nanny similar to Jane Eyre and most other governesses where she is part of the family, but also not part of the family.  I liked how that was briefly explored, but I wish it would have dug deeper.    Was that what put Louise over the edge?  Or was it her financial difficulties and loneliness?  

Myriam, the mother, has working mother angst.  I was annoyed by yet another book insinuating that if only Myriam had not chosen a career as a lawyer instead of staying home with her kids, her kids would still be alive.  This seemed like mommy guilt to the extreme.

Favorite Quote: 

“Solitude was like a drug that she wasn’t sure she wanted to do without.”

Overall, The Perfect Nanny was a thriller without a real conclusion.  It had a great build-up with no resolution.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

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