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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061914711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061914713
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,717,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dermansky follows her lauded debut, Twins, with a trite tail about an ex-con's unlikely re-entry to the world. After serving six years for harboring a fugitive--her bank robber boyfriend--30-year-old Marie is released and misses the decisionless ease of prison life. She finds work as a live-in nanny (nothing like a felon watching your pride and joy) for two-and-a-half-year-old Caitlin, the daughter of her childhood best friend, Ellen, with whom she has a rocky, competitive relationship. In a hard-to-believe coincidence, Ellen is married to the French author, Benoît Doniel, whose book Marie read repeatedly while in prison, and soon enough, Benoît and Marie kick off an affair and decide to run away to Paris together with Caitlin. But when Benoît's true colors are displayed before even landing in the City of Lights (thanks to another unbelievable coincidence), Marie finds herself taking on the role of a single mother in a strange land, though her travails never really impede on her relatively charmed streak. It's off-putting how heavily the plot relies on implausible twists, and Marie is too sketchily drawn to carry the full weight of the story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Dermansky follows her bold debut, Twins (2005), with a wickedly nihilistic and suspenseful tale of erotic mayhem. Impulsive, larcenous, and utterly self-absorbed, not to mention vampishly beautiful, Marie rather liked prison, where she could read her favorite book, a novel by a French author named Benoît Doniel, over and over. Her handsome young Mexican lover and inept accomplice hung himself in jail, and her mother won't even pick her up, so upon her release, Marie heads for her old friend Ellen's swanky New York apartment. Smug Ellen knows how dangerous Marie is, yet she desperately needs a nanny for her precocious toddler daughter, Caitlin. As for her husband, it's none other than Benoît Doniel. Bewitching and commanding, Dermansky creates a template for either a comedy of sexual errors or an all-out tragedy, then keeps readers guessing until the very end. Set in New York, Paris, the Riviera, and Mexico, this is an edgy, speedy, stylish, unpredictable, funny, and heart-stopping tale of a damaged soul who finally finds love in the clear-eyed intelligence, trust, and joy of a child. --Donna Seaman

Customer Reviews

One mark of good writing is crafting likable characters.
D. Scott
And in this relationship between caregiver and child is the crux of the story.
Myfanwy Collins
I read this book late at night, then woke up first thing to finish.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Lawrence on August 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Marie spent six years in jail, charged with aiding and abetting after her boyfriend robbed a bank, killing one individual. She was convicted on the charges of accessory to murder and bank robbery. Said boyfriend hung himself in jail, so Marie is alone. She survived her time spent in jail in part due to a book she read, Virginie at Sea.

Despite her checkered past, Marie's childhood friend, Ellen, hires her as a nanny for her precocious daughter, Caitlin. Ellen's husband, Benoit Doniel, just happens to be the author of the book Marie cherish while in prison.

Marie is a very rude, selfish, manipulating character. Her one good trait is that she truly loves Caitlin. But when Ellen & Benoit discover Marie & Caitlin asleep in the bathtub, Marie is fired. The only "real" life she has is spinning out of control and she desperately attempts to retain it. When Benoit suggests that they take off for Paris together, Caitlin in tow, Marie readily agrees.

The life she was struggling to hold on to continues on a downward spiral, and Marie soon discovers the only person she can rely on is herself, and the love of a little girl.

Let me start by saying that there are times that I curse myself for not reading a book sooner. That happened in this case. Within the first few pages, I was hooked, I couldn't stop reading. I read BAD MARIE in one sitting. It took me two hours to read; I simply couldn't tear myself away from it. Marie is a character with traits one is meant to dispise, but I found myself enjoying and appreciating her crude behavior.

The book starts off with the line: "Sometimes, Marie got a little drunk at work." Talk about an attention-getting lead sentence! Based on the title alone, one would tend to think that Marie is a bad person.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jazz Baby on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
I used to work as a nanny myself and I thoroughly enjoyed this fabulous fantasy novel. Which is exactly what it is. I take the whole novel as a sort of romp through the wilderness of wicked thoughts and fantasy that we nannies often have when faced with another day of giving tireless affection and attention, very often for employers who seem to little value our effots. This book is an outlet for the question: What would it be like to steal the trappings of a more "successful" life instead of simply accepting being the hired help? To consume the material gratifications of and even try to get inside the pretty postcard image of lives and relationships seemingly designed by catalogues and recorded in the countless photo albums of wealthy New York homes?

The narrative of "Bad Marie" might exist entirely in the heroine's mind; I half expected it to conclude with a camera pulling back, so to speak, on Marie having daydreamed the entirety of her crimes. I was very glad it didn't. The book, slim as it is, has a hefty and satisfying impact. It follows Marie down some grim passages, as fantasy turns into unexpected disaster upon disaster, but the serene determination of our heroine is fascinating and not at all realistic, which is precisely why the book is so much fun.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Myfanwy Collins on February 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bad Marie is a bad influence. I say this because while reading Marcy Dermansky's second novel, Bad Marie, I was driven to do something that I, as a mother of a small, active child, never do anymore--and that is stay up past 11PM reading, which should tell you something about how engrossing this novel is if even an exhausted mother will stay up late reading it.

It is that good.

So what about Marie? Who is she? She's a nanny. She's an ex-con. She's a screw up. She's also got a big, twisted heart that wants love and healing and happiness and yet all of the people she's ever loved have let her down; basically, Marie makes bad choices about who to love. Except for one. And that one is the little kid she babysits for, Caitlin. And in this relationship between caregiver and child is the crux of the story.

Of course, being a two-year-old there is one crucial moment when Caitlin does disappoint Marie because she cannot possibly respond in an adult. In that moment, Marie first decides to respond in her typical way, but finds she can't do it. She has grown. She has learned to put this child's needs above her own. And that, my friends, is pretty close the love a parent feels.

Okay, so Marie is still not technically doing the right thing in that she kidnapped Caitlin from first her mother and then her father, but her heart is eventually in the right place. Ultimately, she does feel guilt and does want what's best for Caitlin; she just lacks the skills to figure out how do the right thing.

Here is a book that is both literary and plot driven, humorous and heartbreaking. Here is a book that makes you feel for the protagonist despite the horrible things she does. After all, she is still that hard luck kid whose friend's mother took pity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bookmagic VINE VOICE on January 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You have probably seen a lot of reviews of this one already so I will keep it short.
Marie has served sex years in prison for harboring a fugitive, her lover who then offed himself in prison. Upon release, Marie shows up on the doorstep of an old frenemy, Ellen, who offers Marie a job as her nanny to two and a half year old Caitlin. Marie discovers Ellen is married to Benoit Doniel, the author of Virginie at Sea, a book that kept Marie sane while in prison.
Marie isn't the best nanny, she does like to drink on the job, though she adores Caitlin. After Ellen fires her, Marie seduces Benoit, they take Caitlin and run off to Paris. Now this doesn't really make Marie sound too good. But I, like many other reviewers, could not help but love her. Not an easy feat for an author to do with an ex-felon-husband-seducing-child-kidnapper. And also she steals and lies. But love her I did.
As Marie and Caitlin navigate Paris, we see how much Marie loves the little girl. It's very touching and her most redeeming quality.
I read this book late at night, then woke up first thing to finish. I only wish it had been longer. Not that it needed to be for the story but I just did not want it to end. I would love a follow up book about Marie.
Anyway, there is a reason people are RAVING about this book, a reason why I had to go back and add it to my Best of 2010 reads, posted before I read this book. Go read it NOW and find out why!!
my rating 5/5
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More About the Author

Marcy Dermansky is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Bad Marie and Twins.

Bad Marie was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer's Pick, a finalist in the Morning News Tournament of Books, and named one of the best novels of the year in Esquire. Her first novel Twins was a New York Times Editor's Choice Pick. Powell's Bookstore named Marcy a Writer to Watch Out For.

Marcy's short fiction has been widely published and anthologized, appearing in McSweeney's, Five Chapters, The Indiana Review, and elsewhere. Her essay "Maybe I Loved You" appeared in the best-selling anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York.

Marcy has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and The Edward Albee Foundation. She is the winner of the Smallmouth Press Andre Dubus Novella Award and Story Magazine Carson McCuller short story prize. Marcy received her Bachelor of Arts at Haverford College and her Master of Arts at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern, Mississippi. She lives in New Jersey with her daughter Nina.

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