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This is one of this intensely interior novels that are claustrophobic and incredibly engaging and disturbing I was very aware that I was reading a translation and I have no doubt that in French, this novel is a show stopper The translation is good but clunky at times I suppose that is the nature of most translation As a portrait of a nanny who ends up murdering her charges not a spoiler , this novel does a good job of creating ambiguity and never really showing a clear cut why of the crime We also see little of the aftermath Instead, you read the entire novel knowing something terrible is coming In that, Slimani has us in her thrall At times, the prose is overly indulgent and overwritten Like, we get it Chill But still This is a great novel Lots to admire here. DNF 35% I tried my best to get into this novel, but couldn t.The novel opens with a beautiful written crime scene, it s shocking but written well Then it started downhill for me I couldn t feel anything for Myriam, Paul, Louise, Pascale, or Milla or Adam It felt dry, perhaps due to it being a translated work that could maybe is brilliant in French , but didn t read well in English. FIVE STARSI still have chills days after finishing THE PERFECT NANNY I ve skipped over this novel many times thinking it would be the old hand that rocks the cradle plot I could not have been wrong This unusual book got under my skin in the quietest, creepiest way possible and it deserves nothing less than 5 stars The story opens with a brief graphic scene of violence depicting the death of two young children at the hands of their nanny I almost put down the book, I was afraid it would continue But, no, that is only the first two pages An unsettling and disturbing framework is set and the reader now views the rest of the story from the beginning, all the while knowing how this is going to end Since we know WHO, the driving force of this tense character profile is WHY As in real life, we see glimpses of madness in a person, but rarely is there a definable answer as to why someone would commit such a heinous act Instead, it is a combination of inexplicable factors in a disturbed mind that may quietly lead to violence The terrifying part to me is how the loving parents unknowingly invited a madwoman into their home She appeared to them to be an angel, an actual Mary Poppins Until, the unraveling began And then it was too late She has the keys to their apartment she knows everything she has embedded herself so deeply in their lives that it now seems impossible to remove her. The writing is smooth, yet spare Leila Slimani has won many writing awards in her home country of France and it is easy to see why I love this style of writing with one omniscient narrator telling the story in a simple, almost hypnotic manner The short book is absolutely riveting and compulsively readable This is for readers that loved Unraveling Oliver or We Need to Talk About Kevin However, this novel feels completely fresh and is a much faster read than either of these Truly, one of my new favorites. She drinks and the discomfort of living, the shyness of breathing, all this anguish dissolves in the liquid sipsThis book is quite creepy and slightly gross That wasn t what bothered me though Instead, it was just that it was such a boring book that I kept wondering how it became a national bestseller.Myriam is a Moroccan French mother who has left her career of being a lawyer because of the work her two children have put her on Her husband, Paul, is working day and night trying to get the financial help they need to pay all these debts they own and to settle in their small apartment to continue being a happy family The thing is, they aren t a happy family, which is where the perfect nanny comes in When Myriam and Paul meet Louise, they love her, instantly They love her compassion, love, and adoration for their children They love the way she keeps things tidy and organized, how she reads stories to their children, how she cooks, how she cleans, how she manages to make everything seem perfect, perhaps too perfect But that s where Myriam sees something this nanny seems to be too perfect When Louise becomes closed to Adam and Mila, the two children of Paul and Myriam, she can t help but feel love and adoration for them, but also jealousy and envy when they re close to someone else, when they don t listen to her but listen to others, when they don t want to be near her but want to be with her parents Little did these two law workers ever think their perfect nanny would be the suspect.Trigger content warnings for child abuse and murder The book literally starts off with a dead baby s body There is also some child abuse of course since we know the nanny is the killer and mentions of threats.Louise does not respond or hardly and the nannies understand this silence They all have shameful secrets they hide awful memories of bent knees, humiliations, lies Memories of barely audible voices on the other end of the line, of conversations, cut off, of people who die and are never seen again, of money needed day after day for a sick child who no longer recognizes you and who has forgotten the sound of your voice Some of them, Louise knows, have stolen just little thing, almost nothing at all like a tax levied on the happiness of others Some conceal their real namesInspired by the real life story of the murder of the Krim siblings, we start off the book with a gory scene a broken body of a baby is put inside a zipping bag as the mother is in a state of shock, as investigators are photographing the scene, as the murderer is being treated, as the little girl is taken to the hospital and convulsing out of state of panic, shock, anger, and pain We instantly know who did it and how, but the question remains WHY The ending only makes everything worse Not only is is one of the worst endings, but it made everything much mysterious and suspicious You can t help but think there was involved, maybe even someone else There were so many unneeded obstacles in this short little novel that all you want to do is skip to the ending because everything else is so unnecessary.Although I m not sure if the translation of this is very accurate, from French to English thank you, Sam Taylor , I appreciate how the author started this, which is why it s so gripping, but she sure knows how to make this very manipulative Louise and the author both manage to grip you into this and get your attention so you read every little page because you want to find out everything that s happened and WHY.The book is utterly creepy in the beginning that it has you holding on to every page because of what it s about to throw at you, but there isn t anything We follow the boring and sad life of all these characters Louise, St phanie, Paul, Myriam, and even some of Mila, but only in the beginning Truthfully, we only follow Louise and her past We learn about her past actions, who she was before, her previous love life, and get some chapters about her daughter We see her sad and old life and how much she has suffered, but you can t do anything but actually dislike her There isn t a way to have pity or sympathy for her She s the definition of ungrateful not appreciating what she has and not caring about who she is She throws everything from her out there, expecting you to feel bad for her because of what she has been through, but the thing is, she hasn t been through anything Louise is supposed to be the villain in this, the suspect, but because we know what she did and who she really is, there s nothing thrilling about herLouise is a soldier She keeps going, come what may, like a mule, like a dog with its legs broken by cruel childrenNo characters made me feel compassion for them except one Mila Mila was a small child but she was old enough to know wrong vs right, good vs evil I couldn t blame her for her poor child decisions but then I couldn t understand how her mother, Myriam, couldn t see it in her, in her eyes, the eyes who can t fool her because she is her daughter and a daughter and a mother have one of the most promising and touching relationships Well, that is if they get along and such Going into this, I thought there was gonna be about the relationship between Myriam and her children, but this 200 page book was obviously not gonna be that, given the fact that it is so small and easily foldable that the obvious statement of the mysterious nanny is there, so we know it s all about her As I mentioned Mila, I wish she would have done something about the situation she was in I couldn t help but wonder and think if she was gonna do anything, tell her mother at least, about the experiences she had to go through because of Louise How did she not trust her mother Why did she stay silent How could she not be able to say anythingThe author just fools you, having yourself question everything happening but never actually finding and figuring out its answer If an award was given for Worst Mother Ever , Myriam would win it, no hesitation right there You can t NOT know what it s like having children, even if you ve never babysat or had any experience with them You know they re loud troublemakers who will disrupt your meetings, wake you up in the middle of the night, throw stuff at you, throw up their food, nag, cry, whine, beg, and do much annoying stuff, but yet you can t help but want to create this beautiful, small child who you understand perfectly well because they are made from you I guess Myriam didn t understand this Or well, at first.She said she wanted to yell at her two little crying babies and tell them to shut up Sometimes she would think about what it would be like to not have them, to not have to worry about these toddlers, about these youngsters and how peaceful life would be without them It s pretty disgusting to read about a mother regretting the choice she made of wanting to have and having children I could never imagine what kind of mother she actually was since it s never properly described and read about, but she sounded like a disaster She didn t just get this nanny to take care of them so she can return back to her office and be the lawyer she was, she also thought about what it would be like to get rid of them, which is one of the most disgusting things to read about a mother This child shouldn t be bringing you darkness and nightmares, it should give you light and hope, faith and love But of course, you gotta realize that in the end, when your son is dead and your daughter is traumatic because you couldn t open your damn mother eyes and see the hurt, pain, and bruises in the eyes of your children.One thing I couldn t understand was the connection between the very beginning and the very ending It was so confusing to me as to WHY the author said Adam is dead Mila will be too, soon. I guess what I m trying to say is HOW this came to be We start off with the murder scene and then just suddenly jump to Myriam apparently buying pastries for her children and nanny, picking out their favorites, and the chapter ends with that one sentence, as if Myriam, the mother, knew this was going to happen It s as if the author wants to you suspect the mother and think she killed them and she killed Louise, stabbing the knife in her throat and slitting her wrists, not knowing death but introducing it You know, I really just wish the author made this comprehensible, easier to understand, but it was honestly a whole mess.This book is of a character driven book than a plot moving one and I wouldn t even say it s thrilling or suspenseful since we already know what the fuck happened anyways and all we want to know is the reason for it, but instead we end up reading about the love life Louise had, how she doesn t know if her daughter is alive or dead, how she worked at a Children s Day Care, and how she ended up becoming the perfect nanny for Adam and Mila It s a slow moving one, with the author throwing one twist after another, but they aren t twists you don t see coming As a reader who doesn t read mystery often, I wouldn t call these twists suspenseful You know they re coming, you see them coming, and they aren t twists that actually keep you anticipating to see what s after All in all, it isn t as exhilarating as it soundsChildren are just like adults There s nothing to understandThe writing is surprisingly mellow easy to follow, simple, and slow paced it s as if watching a very slow and boring movie or tv show where everything happens right at the beginning only to have it end with a way you never thought of as you realize you wasted your time It s not the best and many of the sentences don t seem to make sense, but it s intriguing enough I can t promise I ll ever read another Le la Slimani book, if and whenever she publishes it, but it really depends, like always Also, I can t believe this has actually been called the French Gone Girl when they are completely different in every possible way actually.Also, a couple of things to know about the real life story of the Krim siblings Marina Krim speaking at Ortega s sentencing Kevin Krim speaking at Ortega s sentencing ( Free Epub ) ☻ Chanson douce ♌ 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 Dependent On One Another, Jealousy, Resentment, And Suspicions Mount, Shattering The Idyllic Tableau 4 slower building, but gripping, stars to The Perfect Nanny The Perfect Nanny opened with the what There was a horrific scene to behold in this family s home For the entire book, I was on the edge of my seat wondering the why with tons of ambiguity and build up at a slower moving pace Louise seems to be epitome of the perfect nanny, but people aren t always who and what they appear to be The side messages on class, privilege, and child rearing in France were interesting This had all the makings of a five star read Until the ending It was a little too loose and open I was really looking forward to putting my finger on the why for some closure The Perfect Nanny is a short and quick read Overall, I found it gripping and engaging and well worthy of four stars Thanks to my Traveling Sisters for another great discussion Please visit Norma and Brenda s blog for the Traveling Sisters review you to Leila Slimani, Penguin Books, and Edelweiss for the complimentary copy. The author says she wanted to write about nannies You know, the uneasy ambiguity, how they re an intimate part of your family but they re an employee, how they re poor mostly black, mostly immigrant and they live in the middle of wealth during working hours, returning each day to the other side of the tracks how they re everything and they have your total trust they look after your children than you do and nothing they can be got rid of just like that.In an interview with The Guardian Ms Slimani explains that after she wrote 100 pages of stuff about the life of a nanny she was bored, bored, bored Then lightbulb moment She found a horrible story in the papers from New York.It was the murder of two children by their nanny Happened on 25 October 2012 and the details are herehttps en.wikipedia.org wiki DeathsShe was able to electrify her boring nanny sociology with the closely copied details of this real life case, and they are very closely copied indeed In fact it s the precise same story transferred from Manhattan to Paris Now really, this is kind of calculating, ain t it I m not saying authors haven t taken real life cases and built crackerjack novels out of them, of course they have, and anyway, when it comes to gruesome crimes, anything an author can imagine has been done out there in the actual world a hundred times over.The quote from the interview is, when she saw the account of the New York murders, Whoah I thought, I have to start with this Now the reader is going to be very interested in this very normal family.And we can t say she was wrong, you must have seen all the rave reviews too Not to mention the Prix Goncourt and two other Prixes I ll bet a movie is on the way as well.So that was some lightbulb.Well, leaving all that aside, does this short sharp you can read it in a day novel work Well, yes, it does in two really big ways.One, it is really compulsive It opens with the murders then of course the 200 following pages are all build up, all a horrible up piling of psychological tension awaiting the known bloodletting release, so you the reader are like a truffle hound, snuffling out the clues which will explain the crime, as this is not a whodunnit but a why on earth did she do it.Two, it brilliantly delineates the crammed together but world s apart lives of the rich couple and the nanny and the underlying toxic nature of the relationship which starts rather tentatively, grows closer and loving by the week and then begins to rot from the inside This is the soul of Lullaby and why it s worth reading The very exact same thing is explored from a male point of view in the well known novel The White Tiger, a story of a chauffeur in India, perpetually 18 inches apart from his employer, but in reality 400 million light years between them In that novel too there is an act of murder unleashed by the servant.So Leila Slimani was dead right, about her material and about the way to pitch it Would I have read an earnest long article about the bad situation of nannies in France Not a chance But this 207 page long article about the bad situation of nannies in France kept me turning the pages, turning the pages, and isn t that the thing we all like to do 3.5 stars 3.5 starsFor me, this book was originally a solid 4 stars that is, up until the ending which I ll get back to later The opening scene was quite explosive and emotional, hooking me from the start in wanting to find out exactly what happened, why things turned out the way they did, how such a horrific tragedy occurred We are taken back in time to the very beginning where we are introduced to the Masse family parents Myriam and Paul who have two adorable kids, toddler Mila and baby Adam a seemingly ordinary family who decides to hire a nanny due to Myriam resuming her career as a lawyer Enter Louise, a young woman with a world of experience taking care of kids not only are the kids charmed by her from the start, she also proves to be efficient in everything she does, whether cooking or cleaning or coming up with activities for the kids Myriam and Paul are thrilled that they have found the perfect nanny to take care of their kids, allowing them to immerse themselves into their careers without worry as long as Louise is there, everything will be fine that is the mantra that Paul and Myriam live by as they become increasingly dependent on Louise day to day.until one day when they realize everything ISN T fine after all.This was a slow burn, character driven story that doesn t really follow the traditional mystery suspense thriller format in that we already find out what happened and who did it within the first few pages, so the big question explored throughout the rest of the narrative was to understand the why and how why did the nanny do what she did and how did things get to this point Originally written and released in France 2 years ago, this book was recently translated into English for the U.S market while some of the sentences did come off a little bit oddly structured, I would say that overall, the writing was quite good The author did a great job building up Louise s character, revealing her past in bits interspersed with parts of the investigation As Louise s relationship with the family slowly unraveled, the sense of creepiness and tension slowly heightened as well, reaching near breaking point I was absolutely on the edge of my seat and felt like I couldn t turn the pages fast enough So I guess it shouldn t be a surprise then that I was disappointed with the way this book ended, which was very abruptly, with many questions still unanswered, plot points not yet resolved, many loops not yet closed My first thought when I got to what ended up being the last page was that perhaps something happened to my copy of the ARC when I downloaded and perhaps some pages went missing, so I immediately went back and re downloaded the book in all formats available and checked each one to see if the last section was the same.when I found out they were and the story truly did end at the point it did, I was actually quite upset, as I honestly felt like I d just been played It was akin to me waiting all season to finally watch that finale episode of my favorite TV show where everything will finally be revealed after building up the suspense for months, with my eyes glued to the TV set in eager anticipation, only to find out the finale was pre empted last minute with no re scheduled airing date planned this is actually something that happened to be me before, way back in the day I guess in a way, the ending ruined the book for me, as I m the type of person who doesn t like to be left hanging when I m reading a book or watching a TV series or a movie , I always need to have some type of closure, some indication that the story arc has ended even if the intention is to continue with the story as a series with the same characters at a later point, this particular story needs to end first I didn t get that with this book and unfortunately, it ended up leaving a bitter taste in my mouth as a result.Aside from the issues with the ending, this was an otherwise solid read that I actually do recommend for its compelling story and riveting characters The author is obviously a very talented writer and can craft a truly captivating story I would probably still read other books by this author but of course while crossing my fingers hoping that those endings don t turn out like this one did Received ARC from Penguin Group via Edelweiss Of course there is no such thing as a perfect nanny And even though the ending of the book is given away on the very first page, I m going to hide it in a spoiler view spoiler The opening page is the police scene the Nanny has stabbed both children to death hide spoiler The story opens with the horrific description of the killing of two children by their nanny Then the novel travels back in time to the events that led up to that day We know what happens but what we don t know is the why There are no easy answers, and this book doesn t offer them It was inspired by the true case of the nanny who killed two children in NYC in 2012, and some aspects of the crime are eerily similar Not knowing the why makes it all the horrific.How can the perfect nanny, who is the envy of all your friends, suddenly snap The relationship between the family and nanny is a complicated one Is she family, friend, or is the relationship simply employer employee There s an inequality in the relationship, yet there s also an intimacy with this person knowing the intimate details of your life and your children s What happens when cracks begin to appear in this perfection Although a crime was committed, this is not a thriller or a crime novel It is a character study and a social commentary The cover, with the nanny s face hidden, is brilliant I see it as a cautionary tale of class and privilege, and how easy it is to allow someone else to take over and of the domestic duties of running a household, yet not truly seeing them as an individual The story is told in the third person with a spare prose that leaves the reader feeling a bit detached, which adds to the sinister mood and mounting dread There are warning signs that all was not well with the nanny psychologically, and I couldn t help but wonder if just one person had intervened if things would have turned out differently edited to add if you like your books tied up in the end with every mystery solved, this isn t the book for you Just like in the real life case this is based upon, much is not known this was a traveling sister read, which inspired a great discussion You can find The Sister s blog at