Leila Slimani | The Perfect Nanny

perfect nanny leila slimani

The Book: 

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Characters: 

Married couple Myriam and Paul
Their nanny Louise

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

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 upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. 

Click here for book spoilers for The Perfect Nanny
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Perfect Nanny, I suggest you turn back now.

The Ending:

Louise grows more and more agitated by the children until one day she snaps and supposedly kills them. The ending is pretty vague. We don’t really know for sure, but her prior actions with the children imply it was her. Louise then attempted suicide but failed. 

I didn’t like how open-ended the story turned out to be. The reader pretty much knows everything from the beginning. I expected to be misdirected, but the whole book amounted to “it was probably the nanny, but we don’t know for absolute certain”. I understand that’s how cases are in real life, but it’s dissatisfying in a novel.

The Review: 

The book was inspired by the true story of the murder of the Krim children. Knowing this book was based on a true story gave it a wonderfully creepy, ominous air. The details of the mundane, everyday lives of these characters are truly creepy knowing how their story ends (this isn’t a spoiler. The book opens with the end of their story–the children dead and the mother distraught. 

Despite this atmosphere, my opinion of the book overall is just so-so. Without spoiling the ending, I’m not sure what else to say about it. I didn’t think it fit into the thriller genre, more of an analysis of character with a creepy, mentally unstable main character. 

Class and race issues were briefly touched upon, and I think a more in-depth analysis would have been interesting. The book was extremely short, so there was definitely room for a critique of these topics without dragging out the narrative. 

Based on the description, I thought it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, too many pieces just didn’t work for me.

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perfect nanny leila slimani

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