Ben Smithgall

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Software and data at Spotify. Previously with U.S. Digital Service and Code for America.

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The Perfect Nanny

By Leïla Slimani

Finished reading on March 22, 2018

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Silmani’s driving and distressing novel is that occasionally she overwrites a section with overly florid prose. This distracts from the book’s otherwise tremendous explorations of family, power, class, and race. Along with an overwhelming first line (“The baby is dead.”), the book provides an incredibly satisfying non-conclusion. You see Louise descend towards madness but never see her get there. It’s a fast read, meant to be consumed all at once in a rush of terror and excitement. Highly recommended.

★★★★☆