Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky – Book Review

Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky
Harper Perennial – July 1, 2010 – Hardcover – 224 pages
Source: Sent by publisher for review

Marie has just been released from prison after serving six years for bank robbery and accessory to murder, the result of going off to Mexico with a boyfriend who was on the run from the police.  Having no alternatives right out of prison, she takes employment from an old friend who gives her a position as nanny to her two-year-old daughter, Caitlin, even though Marie has no prior experience.  In the short amount of time that it takes for Marie to lose her job, she has stolen her former friend’s husband and child, and has set off for an adventure in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris, France.

Bad Marie is the latest in a round of books that I have read which I have not been able to put down – it was so good!  The main character’s unhappy childhood and resulting arrested development have kept her right at the height of self indulgent and selfish behavior, her lack of impulse control leading her to leap before she takes the time to fully consider the consequences of her actions.  Marie makes one bad and totally reprehensible decision after another, and I for one couldn’t help but be totally intrigued and completely on her side, so compellingly has Dermansky written her character. Besides being really curious to see what she will do next and where that decision would lead, I felt great compassion for Marie.

Though she is completely in the wrong on many things, Marie’s behavior isn’t alone in being questionable- leaving an ex-con with no experience and whom you don’t really like to care for your child or running of with your daughter’s nanny are hardly stellar parenting choices.  Maybe I should have had a little more sympathy for the mother of the kidnapped child, but it was really hard for me to feel that much for her.  Dermansky has excelled in writing  a mesmerizing character study and unrelenting page turner all at the same time.

Highly Recommended.

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  1. I recently read another review of this book that highly recommended it, I can’t remember where exactly. And I have to admit you made me feel like I need to read this. However, the premise of the plot doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. Hm..

    1. I know the feeling. I had heard about this one, but it wasn’t one that I wanted to read right off the bat. I thought about it a bit first, and I am so glad that I read it. I could have immediately started all over again. I think that if you have problems with some of the things that Marie does, that could be a problem. I think that this is one of those books that can be a complete crap shoot as to whether the reader will like it or not.

    1. I was surprised by how much I liked this one, but yes, being so curious about what Marie was going to do next made this a wonderful reading experience.

  2. I have not wanted to read this book until now—I think. I like reading an author who draws me into a character I would probably not entertain in real life. I am guilty of judging this book by it’s cover—having scrolled past it on various blogs. Your review, however, has piqued my interest. Your account of Marie’s background shows that the author presents her as a character readers would become invested in. The only reservation I have is, given some of Marie’s choices, the likelihood of graphic language and/or content. I’ll look further into it.  It sounds like a good read.  Great review.

    1. Donna, I don’t think there is much if any graphic language in this book, but I might have missed some because it usually doesn’t bother me in books unless it is excessive. There is a little bit of sex. I just loved the book and reading about Marie, no matter how bad she was.

  3. I’m definitely going to have to seek this one out. And of course now that I’ve read your review, I’ll probably have dreams about Bad Marie again. Funny how these characters get into my head, and I haven’t even read the darned book yet.

    1. That is so funny! I can’t imagine how she will be or what she will do when you are actually reading about her. Don’t let her move in with you!

  4. This book sounds so fascinating because of the unique protagonist. Every review I’ve seen so far seems to mention how appealing she is despite being not very likable.

  5. Thanks so much for the link to my review. And I agree with you completely – Bad Marie is on of those strange books that once you pick it up it’s pretty much got you! I read it a few weeks ago but it has stayed on my mind.

    I find it weird that even though Marie is the kidnapper, and a bit of a sociopath, I always felt that the truly evil and selfish character in the novel was really the French husband. And not just because he ran off with the nanny (when will these women learn not to get young nannies – does no one read the tabloids anymore???) – though I guess that helps. There was something overall sneaky, underhanded and indecisive about how he was written.