Welcome to another edition of the Calendar Girls!
Calendar Girls was a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books and Flavia the Bibliophile and will now be hosted by Katie at Never Not Reading and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song Calendar Girl.
Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favourite book from the theme and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post.
So without further ado, this month’s theme is…
…and my top pick is…
Lullaby/The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani*
Taken from Goodreads…
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…
I’ve just finished reading Lullaby and I honestly couldn’t put it down. The book is super tense, written in an unusual style (you know what happens in the first few pages; the narrative then goes back to explain how it all happened.) Even though the characters are all horrible people, you get completely drawn into their lives and I spent the whole book trying to psychologically profile them and even apportioning blame (which is a terrible, judgemental thing to do, even to fictional characters). I loved the different cultural norms that were explored, especially in relation to race and social status and I think that perspective could have only been written so sensitively by an author of colour.
I listened to a podcast where this book was being discussed and one of the contributors said that she had to DNF Lullaby because it hit too close to home. I can completely understand that – the book is an exploration of imperfect family life, guilt about not being a good enough mother and having the worst thing that can happen to you actually happen, so it obviously hits quite a lot of sensitive areas.
Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lullaby and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fast paced domestic thriller.
Have you read Lullaby? Do you have any bookish plans for Black History month?Let me know in the comments!
*I’ve taken “black author” to include mixed race people so while I’m not entirely sure of Leila Slimani’s heritage, she gets included in a lot of articles about people of colour so I’d say she counts for the purposes of this post.