09 December 2010

Review: Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky

Marie, fresh out of jail for accessory to murder and bank robbery, needed a job. Ellen, who had known Marie since they were kids, needed a nanny for two-year-old Caitlin. Seems like the old friends were reuniting at the perfect moment.

Despite her lack of childcare experience, Marie was in heaven: gourmet food and a place to live and a little girl who seemed to love her. The best part, however, was Ellen's French husband, the author of Marie's favorite novel.

After just a few weeks on the job, Marie is caught naked and asleep in the tub, while Caitlin plays in the cool water beside her. Ellen is horrified, but her husband, Benoit, can't keep his eyes off Marie's body. Life in paradise has clearly come to end, but Marie isn't about to go down without a fight, and she proceeds to take a few of Ellen's things before she leaves. Two of those things are Benoit and Caitlin.

Just how bad is Marie and who else is to blame? Can a thirty-year-old ex-con figure out how deal with a toddler while on the run?

Marcy Dermansky's Bad Marie is a fascinating novel. Marie is a complicated character, and her ambiguity--good or bad? victim or perpetrator?--keeps your attention from the first page.

She never drank in the daytime. Only at night. Marie didn't see the harm: a little whiskey, a little chocolate (p. 1).
And you nod your head, agreeing that it doesn't seem so bad.

Marie pushes the limits in such small increments that you never really notice when she crosses the line. You wonder if she knows what's she's doing or if she's a perpetual victim who simply does what she must to survive. You'll read the novel in one go just to see what Marie does next.

This book was spotlighted earlier as part of my imprint feature, which includes Harper Perennial. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note of June 18, 2010, and visit the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.

Bad Marie at Powell's
Bad Marie at Book Depository
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Published by HarperCollins / Harper Perennial, 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061914713
YTD: 107
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B+

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sandy Nawrot 12/9/10, 6:17 AM  

Bad Marie is back! I never followed up on buying this book, but I was so taken with the reviews of this one, I was having dreams starring Bad Marie. Great review! I need to jump on this one.

Mary (Bookfan) 12/9/10, 6:55 AM  

I enjoyed it (which kind of surprised me). You just know by looking at the cover that you're in for a ride when you start reading! It's a short book - I ended up reading it in a couple of hours. I will not be surprised to see this in film version someday.

Tea,  12/9/10, 7:47 AM  

Wellll, talk about drama. This is drama in a novel. Thanks. Great review. Would love to read it.

Marie Cloutier 12/9/10, 7:55 AM  

I can't wait to read this! :-)

Suejustbooks,  12/9/10, 8:15 AM  

I have been meaning to read this book for so long, and this review was just what I needed. I'm getting it today and hopefully will read it by the end of the year.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 12/9/10, 8:19 AM  

LOL at Sandy. I remember her Bad Marie dreams. This book is almost impossible to put down once you start reading, and it goes by so quickly. Marie may be one of my favorite characters of 2010.

caite 12/9/10, 8:37 AM  

I take you recommendation seriously, and it sounds very interesting...once I get past the fact that if I needed a nanny, I don't really think I would consider an "accessory to murder and bank robbery." Old friend or no old friend.

Beth F 12/9/10, 8:45 AM  

Caite: so true. It's one of the aspects of the novel that makes you think about who is to blame for what happens.

Michelle (my books. my life.) 12/9/10, 9:20 AM  

I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked this book. I think you're spot on with the ambiguity of Marie keeping our attention. I really loved this one.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 12/9/10, 10:50 AM  

Another book to add to my to-read list.

Anonymous,  12/9/10, 11:31 AM  

I had wanted to read Bad Marie and then forgot to add it to my list. I'm so glad you reviewed it (and a great review at that) so I could remember. It is now on my list.

Shelley 12/9/10, 1:57 PM  

Child abuse from beginning to end.

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/9/10, 5:00 PM  

A great review. I too was so fascinated by Marie, she is an unforgettable character.

Stephanie 12/9/10, 6:23 PM  

Marie's intentions were always a mystery for me, which made me enjoy the book even more.

Melissa 12/9/10, 8:14 PM  

Loved this one ... and just reviewed it too! How cool to see yours (will add it to my links).

SuziQoregon 12/9/10, 11:43 PM  

This is going to sound really weird, but I keep reading good reviews of this book and it really does sound intriguing. What keeps me from adding it to my list you ask? The cover. There's something about the cover that I just can't pin down that turns me off.

Told you it sounded weird. Maybe if I do read it I'll have to look for an ebook version so I don't have to look at the cover.

Anonymous,  12/10/10, 4:59 AM  

I agree with Suzi about the cover. But the book sounds great. I love it when a main character pushes the line further and further and at some point you think, Hey, wait a minute! I can't live with that! What you're doing now is bad!

But the cover! Hmm.

Pam 12/10/10, 5:47 AM  

Oh MAN what fun! This looks so good. Sort of dark but still exciting.

Rebecca Rasmussen 12/10/10, 8:48 AM  

I read a lot of mixed reviews about this one, but I think I am on board now that I've read yours. Thanks for reminding me of this book! :)

Dorte H 12/10/10, 1:33 PM  

Wow, this one sounds very baaad - really intriguing.

Jenna 12/12/10, 7:14 PM  

I loved Bad Marie!!

bermudaonion 12/12/10, 8:12 PM  

You've made me want to pick this up right now! It sounds great!!

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