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.