Warnings: Child Death
I really struggled to put my thoughts together on this book, partially because The Perfect Nanny was not what I had expected and one of the more unique stories I’ve ever read. I feel that it is mismarketed as a mystery thriller when it was neither, to me this is a horror novel through and through. I think I would have liked this book better if I had known this beforehand.
The plot is slow and very intense as a portrait of Louise is formed from the point of view of other characters and their interactions with her. It occurred to me after a time that the shifting narration was important, because it presents the story of the “perfect nanny” almost like a ghost story, a witness statement to the police about the perpetrator.
The prose is taut and very precise, creating an uncomfortable, almost suffocating atmosphere for the reader. This is definitely an introspective novel, with a lot of commentary on the roles of women as caregivers and French society. It’s an interesting character study and I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially after I took some time to let the story sink in. If you’re looking for a traditional mystery with a cause and exciting climax you’ll find yourself disappointed.
Also a bit of trivia, but I found out after I had finished the book that the story is loosely based on a real tragedy that happened back in 2012. Just knowing this little bit of information makes the story that much more chilling.
“She gave the baby a bath and thought to herself that this happiness–this simple, silent, prisonlike happiness–was not enough to console her.”