This book was like that itch between your shoulder blades you can never quite reach yourself. It was good, but I definitely did not enjoy reading it, if that makes sense. I just wanted it to be over.
The very first chapter activates stress even when it essentially “spoils” the whole book – two young children are dead, murdered by their caretaker, their mother hysterical with grief. From there it flashes back in time to tell you how we got here and it is absolutely never satisfying. But two children are dead – satisfaction was never really on the table.
To make matters worse, it’s also based on an all-to-real true story of children murdered by their nanny in New York, about a decade ago. I really don’t do well with true crime. I am, however, a sucker for book reviews, so I took the plunge on this one.
In a nutshell – a young French couple with two small children hire a new nanny when the wife decides she wants to go back to work. The nanny comes with fantastic references and is a godsend in every aspect of their lives. Until she isn’t.
The characters all feel so utterly human and so very real, it’s extraordinary. They are flawed, yes, but their decisions are so understandable even when, as the reader, as an outside third party, we can see things begin to spiral. Everything still makes sense even as we approach the inevitable, gruesome conclusion.
And I’m not even addressing the feminist issues around the potential reading of this as “the mother’s fault” because yes, you could read it like this but I just want this review – much like the book – to be over. Would not reread.