THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#4): The Perfect Nanny / Into the Water

The Perfect Nanny
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Ugh, from the very beginning, this book was chilling. Unsettling. It’s not a typical thriller, more character-driven, maybe a character study of sorts. None of the characters were likable, but they were fascinating.

A young Parisian couple, Myriam and Paul, hire Louise as a nanny for their two small children. With a good reference from her previous employer, and being somewhat desperate to find childcare, they quickly welcome Louise into their lives. Oh, dear. Louise seems perfect on the outside, but she has hidden issues, which are slowly reveled as the story progresses.

While reading this book, I felt like I was watching the characters from a distance rather than being a part of the story. I wonder if it’s because this is the English translation from French, or was that the intent. The writing was good…just had a distant feel. The ending, well, I wanted more. Too many questions unanswered.

Into the Water
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I lost patience with INTO THE WATER early on. By page 32, I counted seven different POVs. Confusing! A few more POVs were added after that. Basically the story was about a place called “The Drowning Pool” where several women died, beginning in the 1600s. The latest death is a woman who was writing a book about this seemingly cursed place. Sounded promising, but turned out to be dull. Needed more suspense. I was looking forward to this book, but in the end it was just meh.

“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself.” – Angela Carter

Book Review: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Released: January 13, 2015
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives…

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

There’s lot of buzz going around about THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, and for the most part, I think it lived up to the hype. It’s a dark psychological thriller that was easy to get wrapped up in. Rachel, a.k.a the girl on the train, likes to snoop on people’s lives outside the window as she rides back and forth to London, which gets her in a web of trouble when she sees something disturbing. Rachel is unstable, and her life is a mess, so can her story be believed? The doubts I had about Rachel made this an entertaining story to read. I love unreliable narrators — fun and frustrating.

If I compare this book to that other “girl” thriller (GONE GIRL), it falls a bit short. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN had plenty of interesting twists and big reveals along the way, though I wasn’t that surprised by the ending. I also thought that the women in this book were just too weak in character, as in a wee bit pathetic? Overall, I did enjoy the book though!! Kept me reading late into the night… Impressive debut, and I’ll definitely pick up Paula Hawkins next novel. 4 stars!