Reading a novel—a good one—feels like holding a miniature world in my hands housed in a glass case. Peeking through the glass, I get to see the characters day and night, here and there; characters have no place to hide from me. Listening to the third-person omniscient narrator, I become aware of their past as well as their desires and realize that the present is not an independent segment in the timeline, but an overlap between the past and the future where both memories and desires influence numerous decisions made at the current moment.
On the surface, one main stream of events flows through a novel, but the players in it bring their own stories.
By the end of the first chapter of The Perfect Nanny, we know who committed a horrendous murder, when and where it happened and how. By the end of the book, we question whether Louise is in fact solely responsible for the murder or everyone has a share.
How presumptuous it is to say that I “know” someone. Everyone has a story to tell and nobody knows others’ full stories. How arrogant it is to judge someone based on shallow knowledge, snapshots of someone through my own lens. I dropped off The Perfect Nanny at the library, but these thoughts trailed me, becoming part of my past and already shaping my future.