Book Review: The Perfect Nanny

THE PERFECT NANNY | Leila Slimani
01.09.2018 | Penguin Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Miriam and Paul are the parents of two young children. Miriam has been a stay-at-home mother for some time now and has recently gotten the itch to head back in to the workforce when she bumps into an old acquaintance. The kids aren’t old enough to take care of themselves and parents watching them isn’t an option, so the couple decides it’s time to find a nanny. After interviewing a few terrible candidates, the couple is over the moon to find Louise, who appears to be the perfect nanny.

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Fate is vicious as a reptile. It always ends up pushing us to the wrong side of the handrail.

Louise connects with the children in a way that makes caring for them effortless. She sings to them, plays games with them, and hovers over them like a doting surrogate parent. Louise goes the extra mile in her duties, by taking care of the house, staying late most nights, and cooking the family elaborate meals. Soon Miriam and Paul feel like they can’t live without Louise and Louise is beginning to feel the same. Are Miriam and Paul blinded by Louise’s charms? How far will Louise go to make this family love her?

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Hate rises up inside her. A hate that clashes with her servile urges, her childlike optimism. A hate that muddies everything. She is absorbed by a sad, confused dream. Haunted by the feeling that she has seen too much, heard too much of other people’s privacy, a privacy she has never enjoyed herself.

Leila Slimani opens THE PERFECT NANNY by telling the reader exactly how the book is going to end. The revelation makes it clear that Louise isn’t quite so perfect. But what lead her to this terrible ending? THE PERFECT NANNY is the ultimate character study of a woman desperate to find her place in the world and gain the affection of those around her. Over the years Louise has faced rejection from those around her including her daughter and late husband. She now lives a life under the mask of perfection, constantly going above and beyond to prove her worth to those around her. One can only live this way for so long. This novel is not a thriller despite the shocking introduction Slimani gives readers. THE PERFECT NANNY is a slow-burning, eloquently worded trip into the mind of a woman losing control and the impacts her actions have on those around her.

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