The Masse family had it all. Paul is a studio musician turned music producer, and his star is rising. Myriam is a lawyer well on her way to becoming partner. They have two adorable children, Mila and Adam. They have a charming apartment in Paris. And they have found the perfect nanny, Louise. She keeps their home tidy, cooks like a dream, is always available to help with the kids, and whom the kids adore. They have an enviable life.
It's not always ideal. There are small struggles. Myriam fights with her guilt for missing out on so much of her kids' lives. As working parents, she and Paul are stretched too tightly, stressed out, exhausted. They have money problems, like any family. They have in-laws. But when they get to go on vacation and leave their worries behind, they find that the beaches on Greece are beautiful and refreshing. The food is delicious. Louise has never experienced anything like it, and she enjoys her time with the kids there, building sand castles and learning to swim. Life may not be perfect, but it's really good.
Until it's really, really, really bad.
Myriam isn't exactly sure what happened to cause her world to be ripped apart so badly. She just knows that it's more than anyone should have to deal with in this life.
The Perfect Nanny is the story of two women, their choices, their opportunities, their families. The story starts at the end and then weaves back and forth between Myriam's life, Louise's life with the Masses, and Louise's life before she met the family. Their life stories intertwine, demonstrating how things can go right in a life, and how they can go so very wrong.
Originally published in her native French, Leila Slimani's disturbing domestic novel is one of the most talked about books of early 2018. It's a quick read but far from an easy one. It's well written, which makes its tragic story that much more heartbreaking. I was excited about reading this book, but the opening is difficult to get through. It's a good book, if you can get past the start of the story, but it's painful to read knowing the entire time how it ends. The Perfect Nanny has won awards and fans throughout the literary world, well deserved, but be ready for a lot of painful feels. It's worth reading, but it's not for everyone. My advice is to taste it first, and then decide if it's for you.
Galleys for The Perfect Nanny were provided by Penguin Books through Edelweiss, with many thanks.