Plano Reads: The Perfect Nanny

Read our review of The Perfect Nanny, a Brown Bag Book Club pick for September.

Be sure to register for our virtual book club meeting next on Thursday, September 24 at 12 p.m.

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, available in both print and eBook

Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after the birth of her second child. She wants to find the perfect caregiver; someone she feels comfortable leaving her children with during the day. Enter Louise, a women who is devoted to the children and their every need, while also keeping the house neat and orderly. Louise becomes increasingly important to the household over time. She takes on more and more responsibilities, ranging from cleaning their Paris apartment to cooking elegant meals.

Is Louise the perfect nanny? What is the relationship between parents and caregiver? Whose family is Louise part of?

The Perfect Nanny is an English translation of Chanson Douce or Lullaby by the French-Moroccan author Leila Slimani. The story is loosely based on a New York case. The themes of race, class, maternal ambivalence and privilege are provocative. It all comes to a head in this psychological thriller, where some questions are answered, and some the reader must decide for themselves.


The Eerie Horrors of The Perfect Nanny: Leïla Slimani’s novel scrutinizes the paradoxes of parenting in a world where the potential for disaster abounds. – Review from The Atlantic

Slimani expertly probes Myriam’s guilt at leaving her children with a stranger and the secret economy of nannies in Paris’s tony professional districts. Taylor’s spare, understated translation underscores the quiet desperation, economic struggles, and crushing loneliness that build to Louise’s final act. Those seeking a thought-provoking character study will appreciate this gripping anatomy of a crime. – Review from Publisher’s Weekly

What initially feels like routine, unremarkable women’s fiction morphs into a darkly propulsive nail-biter overlain with a vivid and piercing study of class tensions. – Review from Library Journal

Video interview with author Leila Slimani and Shakespeare and Company Bookshop:


Be sure to register for our virtual book club meeting next on Thursday, September 24 at 12 p.m. to discuss The Perfect Nanny.

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