Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bad Marie - Marcy Dermansky

The novel "Bad Marie" had gotten its hooks into me way before I ever read it.  Just about every blogger I follow had been reviewing it when it was first published a couple of years ago.  I'd heard Marie compared to Lisbeth Salander, and much was said about her badass personality that you couldn't help but admire.  So I had to laugh at myself when one night I even had a dream about Bad Marie (she came up to me in a bookstore and bullied me).  It was kind of a foregone conclusion, then, when it was part of a 99 cents sale on Kindle awhile back and I snatched it.  


I hadn't really had the book on my priority list, but I found myself one Sunday at the dreaded Florida Mall with my daughter, and I was sitting in my own little eternal hell of waiting outside the dressing rooms without a book.  So voila.  I pull Marie up on my Kindle app on my phone and I was instantly transported to her messed up life (which was way worse than the dressing room and made me feel better).


Synopsis:  Marie fully understands that she is bad.  Sometimes she drinks while she is acting as live-in nanny for the daughter of her childhood friend Ellen.  One time she even passed out while in the tub with the little girl.  And she can't help that she wants to sleep with Ellen's husband Benoit Doniel - he is the famous French author of her all-time favorite book that she read over and over again while she was in prison.  Ellen isn't that great of a friend anyway...she always treated Marie like a charity case in high school because of Marie's dubious upbringing.  


But when Marie actually skips town with the esteemed husband and daughter, maybe to even claim a little happiness of her own, she knows she has crossed the line.  How wonderful of a fantasy, though, to hide in a small villa in rural France with the man and little girl who she adores?  Except that the fantasy turns sour before her feet touch French soil.  Marie discovers her author is really an irresponsible, narcissistic, playboy jerk.  And caring for a 2 1/2 year old is a lot of responsibility.  How is Marie going to get out of this one without landing herself back in the slammer?


My thoughts:  So how does one classify such a novel?  A dark comedy?  A character study?  A cautionary tale?  Probably all three.  


Marie does have a bit of Lisbeth in her.  She is alluring in a dangerous way, she is damaged, and has been taken advantage of her entire life.  She is completely, apologetically self-absorbed.  She is a survivor.  But unlike Lisbeth, Marie has a grounded, cautious optimism that someday things are going to turn for her.  If things DON'T go her way, she shrugs her shoulders and carries on.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  She was really a deplorable human being, but I still liked her.  Her persona was the best part of the book. 


The plot took some crazy turns.  I literally had no idea what to expect from one moment to the next while Marie was busy having her adventure.  At some point, I might imagine some readers might throw their hands in the air and exclaim "enough already".  


The prose was a bit on the abrupt, simplistic side, but the pace of the storytelling carried me along in its current.  Given the right circumstances, I could see this being a one-sitting read (perfect for a readathon).  A classic this is not, but it made for an entertaining day at the mall.  


3.5 out of 5 stars    




16 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds a little strange for me. But thank heavens you had your Kindle with you - how awful to be waiting somewhere without a book!

Ti said...

I like reading about messed up people but there has to be a glimmer of "something" there that I like, before I will allow myself to spend any time with them. You mentioned that you kind of liked her and that although she had a messed up life, she had moments of optimism. That would work for me.

caite said...

maybe if I had caught the Kindle sale..but for $10, I am not sure.

bermudaonion said...

They don't all have to be classics - this sounds fun!

Zibilee said...

I also bought this one when it was on sale, and think that it sounds like a fun read for a day when I am feeling slightly misanthropic. This was a great review, and although the book didn't rate 5 stars, it sounds like it kept you in its spell during a really boring day of sitting in the dressing room! Have I mentioned that I hate that too?

Jenny said...

I bought this then too. I still need to read it but it sounds good. I wonder if the abrupt and simple narration sort of contributes to the feel of Marie's attitude? Anyway, I will read this soon!

Kathleen said...

Marie sounds like a very intriguing character and the book sounds interesting too.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

This one has been on my kindle for awhile, but I haven't gotten around to it. It sounds like there's no hurry.

Anita said...

I've never heard of this one, but I think I can pass. Too many others I want to read.

Tasha B. said...

Anyone named Benoit has got to be narcissistic. That's guaranteed. ;)

Jackie Bailey said...

I've seen this one around a lot, but I'm not sure it is for me. I'm quite pleased to see that you didn;t fall in love with it. I do love it when an author gets you to sympathise with flawed characters though. Hmmm. Think I'll put this on the maybe shelf.

reviewsbylola said...

I hadn't heard the comparison between Marie and Lisbeth but I can see the similarities! I thought Bad Marie had something a little different, which is what drew me in.

Beth F said...

I really like this when I read it. Crazy adventure with a bad, bad woman. But, no, it's not a classic or destined to eternal fame. But that's okay. Great weekend entertainment.

Jenners said...

Hmmmm…still not sold. Still not sure I see the connection to Lisbeth but I'm glad it saved you from dressing room hell.

Julie P. said...

Hmmmm. I'm one of the few bloggers that didn't read this one. I was tempted but not sure. Thanks to your review, I still feel the same way. Ha ha!

Melissa said...

I sort of remember other bloggers reading this one...sounds like it worked to pass the time, but I won't be rushing out to read it.