Book Reviews

The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani

The baby is dead.

This is the first book in a while that earned a gasp as soon as I read the opening line. It gave me instant chills and a sense of dread that never eased up throughout the rest of the book. With an opening like that, I expected to be blown away by the time I reached the end… but alas, it was not to be.

What I liked:

The premise of the story hooked me. A beloved nanny that becomes a threat? That sounded deliciously creepy and held the promise of being a really good book.

Slimani’s writing was very good and the characters were flawed in a very realistic ways. I often found myself feeling sorry for Louise, a woman of meager means whose life was anything but easy.

What I didn’t like:

I enjoyed reading this book, but the ending was a major disappointment for me. It felt unfinished, because it never answered a crucial question—why did Louise do what she did? I was completely frustrated by the lack of an answer, and it’s for this reason that this ended up being a three star read for me, rather than a four star.

Final thoughts:

The lackluster ending was a major disappointment, especially since everything leading up to it was so good. I was expecting an explosive finale, but the payoff never came. What a shame.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Books via Edelweiss.

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Author: Leïla Slimani
Title: The Perfect Nanny
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publication Date: January 9th, 2018 by Penguin Books
Rating: 3 stars

About the Book

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.

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. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood—and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.

The #1 international bestseller and winner of France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt

About the Author

Leïla Slimani (born 1981) is a French writer and journalist of Moroccan ancestry. In 2016 she was awarded the Prix Goncourt for her novel Chanson douce.

Slimani was born in Rabat, Morocco and studied later political science and media studies in Paris. After that she temporarily considered a career as an actress and began to work as a journalist for the magazine Jeune Afrique. In 2014 she published her first novel Dans le jardin de l’ogre, which two years later was followed by the psychological thriller Chanson douce. The latter quickly turned into a bestseller with over 450,000 copies printed within a year even before the book was awarded the Prix Goncourt.

Slimani holds a French and Moroccan citizenship.


7 thoughts on “The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani”

  1. The premise certainly sounds great but I am sorry to hear about the ending. I would have an issue with it too especially since the character’s motives remained unclear. That is really frustrating.

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stupid comment posted before I was done. How rude! LOL

      Yes, it was very frustrating! I know we won’t always get the endings we hope for, but man… this was a serious disappointment. I wanted to know why she did it!


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