Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Marie is not really bad, she is just ambitionless and self-indulgent and steals things, including her patroness's clothes, baby and husband, just because she likes them. The husband turns out to be a hopeless, helpless fraud (known for a book which, he confesses, he didn't write) who takes her to Paris on his wife's credit card (he is also moneyless), where he abandons Marie and the baby. Marie has already spent 6 of her 30 years in jail, as an accomplice after running off to Mexico with her Mexican boyfriend who had robbed a bank, and a gullible and guilt-ridden workaholic former schoolmate, Ellen, had hired her as nanny. Fearing pursuit by Ellen, Marie flees Paris by train to the Riviera with the 2 1/2 year old baby Caitlin, meets a young, pretentious movie star (despite her habit of gorging herself on fattening foods and drinking whatever is available, Marie is still attractive, mainly for her big tits), who takes her out to dinner, buys her and the baby clothes and invites her to stay in his borrowed house. When a papparazzo publicizes this outing, the young actor insists that Marie leave, so she steals his credit card and runs off to Mexico, to the home of her now-dead Mexican boyfriend (he committed suicide in prison), where Juan José's family all blame her for his death. Once again really bummed out, Marie walks with baby Caitlin to the nearby fancy beach resort and registers with the movie star's credit card. What happens next? Since Marie has made no effort to cover her trail, we can only assume she will soon be back in prison as thief and kidnapper.
Marcy Dermansky tells us in an afterword that almost everything in this novel is inspired by scenes from her favorite French movies. That no doubt explains why Marie and her experiences seem so far from real life. They are impressions (by an American author) of impressions (by French auteurs). It's fun to read, especially if you've seen some of those same movies, or even if you haven't.
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