What’s it about?
The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties.
The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul’s idyllic tableau is shattered…
There are no secrets here, you know from the outset, from the blurb, that a baby is going to be killed. It’s quite shockingly detailed so if this kind of thing upsets you, don’t read it.
Strangely, the ending of the story is the beginning and I was hoping that the rest of the plot would live up to that, and for the most part I thought it did, I was gripped throughout just wondering when and why she would finally snap and do it! The book is very well written and contrary to the turn of phrase, nothing is lost in translation.
Essentially it’s a social commentary of a nanny’s role and integration into family life. Having been a nanny, I know how hard the job is: how much a family can depend on you, how you can be pushed to breaking point but fortunately most of us know where the line is! I think a lot of us do have a morbid curiosity into why people kill and particularly when it’s women and children.
I didn’t know, before reading this book, that it’s based on the true story of a nanny who murdered siblings in New York in 2012. Upon doing some very brief research it looks like the author has changed basic details but the bare bones of the story are the same but unfortunately, for me, I felt it had disappointing ending with no definitive conclusion unlike the real events.
Small print for info
No of pages: 224
Publisher: Faber & Faber