Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Review: "Bad Marie" by Marcy Demansky

All right, look. This won't be much of a book review. Honestly, this is probably the third in a string of books I hated. And I'm not going to bother delving deep into why I might dislike it. Let's keep it brief, okay?

Marie is thirty and fresh out of prison after serving a six-year stint for aiding and abetting. Her boyfriend robbed a bank and someone died, and then he picked up Marie and then they went to Mexico to hang out. The authorities found them, and she ends up in prison, and somehow, she doesn't mind this. So now she's out, doesn't talk to her mother, and her only choice is to see an old friend for help. Ellen is wealthy and needs a nanny. Marie moves in. She drinks whisky and eats chocolate and takes care of Caitlin, Ellen's 2 1/2 year old daughter. And she fancies Ellen's French husband, the idiotic Benoit Doniel. There's a scene in a bathtub, Marie is forced to leave, and then...

Marie makes an unending series of bad decisions which are barely decisions at all, as if she's just coasting along through events which are not her fault and which she doesn't understand. Pets die, movie stars are ridiculous, and there is a lot of macaroni and cheese. And then the book ends. See? Now you don't have to buy it.

As with Koja's "Under the Poppy," I will now reveal to you that this came rather highly recommended from a source I now find dubious, at best. Probably they -- and a lot of other people who apparently found book this "hilarious" and "irresistible" -- either have something in common with Marie or wish in some way that they could be like Marie. I am neither, and hence, I found nothing that reverberated with me. Possibly I am too fucking old to find this amusing. But I will say that the writing, and especially the voice, are wonderful. It was simply Marie herself that I wanted to kick and leave flattened on the curb, like a particularly sad creature from the book.


In good reading news, I started another book. It has short stories and poems by a single author, and having only read the first story, I am devastated. In the best way, I suppose. Review when finished, but the story alone ranks as one of the very best I have ever read.

However, there is definitely a current of sad loneliness, despair, and it appears I am in for more of that. I wish for another book like Wesley Stace's "Misfortune." After this next one, I am looking for some lighter reading, and something decidedly humorous. Suggestions welcome.


  1. "something decidedly humorous" ... Twilight is pretty damn funny.


    Sorry for the grumps. I feel your pain.


  2. LOLZ at your book review, especially the macaroni and cheese. I can tell that you just wanted to get through the damn thing and didn't want to dwell on it! I'm surprised that you didn't jettison it in mid-story.

    If you want light and humorous, have you read any David Sedaris? I would highly recommend his book, Naked, which contains a series of short stories about his childhood. Hilarious! His non-fictional stories about himself are so much funnier than his fiction. There were some that had me laughing so hard, I could barely keep reading. I highly recommend all his books, except for the first one, Barrel Fever, which is fiction.

  3. @Sara: Twilight. I can't even believe you said that. LOL!

    @Mimi: I read one review where the person said she couldn't stand Marie but then, halfway through, started loving her and rooting for her. So I kept reading, hoping for that moment to happen.

    A lot of people have recommended Sedaris to me. I started "Running With Scissors" and didn't care for it, but as I see "Naked" in the cheap books pile all the time, I'll pick it up and give it a try.

    If you like that sort of humorous non-fic memoir, my favorite book of all time is "A Girl Named Zippy" by Haven Kimmel. ALL TIME. (do not recommend the follow-up book, though)

  4. Running With scissors wasn't Sedaris. It was Augusten Burroughs. I, too, had heard good things about that book, read it, and went "meh..."

    I'll check out Zippy on Amazon. I have a few bucks to use up on a gift card, and that may do it....

  5. Eh. Augusten Burroughs. It's quite possible that the same person who loved Sedaris told me about Running With Scissors, and I lumped them in together. This was about four or five years ago. I think I read Scissors and then said, "No. Not reading 'Naked' now." And have boxed them up ever since.

    Someone gave me their copy of "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell. It's sitting here, unread after almost two years. And I've just seen, coincidentally, a few people mention it here and there as one of the best books ever. So maybe that'll be next.

  6. ”…but the story alone ranks as one of the very best I have ever read.” Looking very much forward to the review =)

  7. Glad I found your site from ATON. Looking forward to keeping up with it. Peace, Sean

  8. Hello, Sean! Thanks for stopping by.