Bad Marie

Bad Marie: A Novel (P.S.)Sometimes when I'm at Barnes & Noble, I peruse the "Discover New Writers" section.  Recently I picked up Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky from that sparse little shelf.  It was totally a cover purchase.  It just looked dangerous and cool.

Bad Marie tells the tale of Marie, an ex-con turned nanny turned.....  Marie has recently been released from a 6 year stint in jail for aiding and abetting a fugitive of the law- her then boyfriend.  While in jail, he kills himself and Marie finds solace in a novel by a French writer.  The novel, Virginie at Sea is the only thing that keeps her going during her days in prison.

Upon her release, she has no where to turn.  Returning home to her mother is a no-win situation, so instead she seeks out the only "friend" she has left.  She turns to a childhood 'frienemy', Ellen who overlooks Marie's past transgressions and hires her as a nanny.  Ellen has it all- a beautiful daughter, powerful job, stunning home and a handsome husband, who by a little twist of fate is the author of Marie's favorite novel.  Since Ellen has it all, Marie is planning on taking it all away.

Marie is a manipulative, lazy and selfish woman.  Through all the bad though, Marie does truly care for Caitlin.  Unfortunately, Marie can't keep control of her 'bad behavior' and is found asleep in the tub with Caitlin.  A discreet fight occurs between Ellen and Marie, resulting in Marie being fired.  Lucky for Marie, her plans of taking it all are falling in to place- Ellen's husband Benoit suggests that they run away together, and take Caitlin with them- Marie quickly agrees and off they go.  From there, Marie's dream continues to unravel as she faces reality and the consequences of her choices and circumstances.

Maire is a complex girl- not all bad, but certainly not all good either.  Her life hasn't been easy and she was molded {aren't we all?} by her experiences.  Jail made her lazy- sure, she worked while in jail {in the laundry}, but she never had to think for herself or do much else.  Lights on, lights off- when to eat, sleep, dress and exercise.  All her decisions were made for her.  Then she ends up being the decision-maker.  Marie doesn't know how to make good decisions... she spent her youth in jail, just surviving, never learning how to grow up.  As a result, Marie makes bad choices and carries Caitlin along for the ride.

I really enjoyed this novel.  Bad Marie was a quick read, but still had a lot of substance.  It brings up questions of circumstance, character, lust, growing up and love.  I suggest you go buy this and read it now... I've already loaned out my copy, twice.

Oh, and I have not read Dermansky's first novel, Twins but will definitely be picking it up after reading Bad Marie!  I hear it is quite good as well!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

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