Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bad Marie

You to have love a writer who can get you rooting for the protagonist, a woman who just got out of prison after serving a sentence for accessory to murder. The same woman who is now trying to steal the husband of her lifelong best friend. That's not an easy task but Marcy Dermansky pulls it off in her novel, Bad Marie.

Marie works as a nanny for her friend. The friend, Ellen, gave her the job to help Marie get back on her feet. Marie fell in love with the Ellen's husband, the French novelist Benoit Doniel, whose book Marie read and re-read then re-read a few gazillion more times, while she was in the pokey. Marie also falls in love with Ellen and Benoit's toddler, Caitlin.

The first line of this book is right up there with Don Winslow's Savages. "Sometimes, Marie got a little drunk at work". The story begins with Marie and Caitlin in the bathtub, Marie falling asleep from a little too much booze. Benoit and Ellen return home to find the pair naked and that is enough to get Benoit interested as Marie is a tall, voluptuous, babe. Marie also is supposedly a dead ringer for Benoit's sister, who killed herself years before.

Marie convinces Benoit to take Caitlin and the three of them flee to France. On the plane ride over, Benoit encounters an old flame of his and he dumps Marie for her. Marie takes Caitlin on the lam and travels throughout France before fleeing to Mexico.

The thing about this book is that while there are lots of proclamations of love, the only people anyone in this book truly loves are themselves. They love how other people make them feel but really, there isn't a whole lot of caring going on. Benoit is fickle enough to switch from his wife to Marie to his ex in less than 24 hours. Ellen is more concerned with Marie not getting Benoit than she is about her own relationship with Benoit and Caitlin is an afterthought to both of them. Marie is looking to fill holes in her life brought about by an uncaring mother. And when the truth about Benoit's novel comes out, Marie is over Benoit almost as fast as Benoit was over her.

Needless to say, the characters of this book aren't traveling the moral high ground. Even so, like I said, you find yourself rooting for Marie. And the book moves. I couldn't put it down. I recommended it to a co-worker and she, too, could not put it down.

While I did find it gripping and a really enjoyable read, the ending was a bit abrupt and while I rooted for Marie, I don't know that I ever really liked her. As a result, I'm keeping it out of the two-star books but definitely recommending it.

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