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Bad Marie

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  1,302 ratings  ·  280 reviews

“Reading Marcy Dermansky’s Bad Marie is like spending a rainy afternoon in a smaller, older movie theater watching a charming French movie with a woman (or a man) you’ve just met on the street and already like far too much. It’s sinful in all the right ways, delicate, seditious, and deliciously evil.” — Frederick Barthelme

“Dermansky excels at depicting extreme emotional s

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published (first published June 10th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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For the second time in about as many weeks I've come across a book with gushing blurbs from well-respected authors that don't seem to fit the book. "...deliciously evil...worthy of Flaubert....a naughty pleasure, a philosophical romp, heady very very bad...." these are just a sampling of unworthy praises on the front and back cover of the book. Never mind the gushing words to be found in the three pages of blurbs inside.

'Bad' Marie is a kind of dopey, hapless woman who does bad th
I don't know Marcy Dermansky, but I have to imagine the novelist behind the ridiculously delicious joy-ride Bad Marie spent a lot of time bent over a keyboard cackling as she pulled the wings off her title character.

Fiction just got fun again, friends. This is the kind of book you sprint through, only to realize everyone else is doing it wrong. Writers are taking themselves -- not to mention their characters -- far too seriously.

Lets start where Dermansky starts: With a glass of whiskey and a ba
DAMN. Literature with a capital L, and you know, it's idiotic of me, but I always forget that Literature with a capital L is frequently just as entertaining and readable as Literature with a capital Crap. Why do I forget that? How do I not remember that, even though I read Chelsea Cain and Christopher Moore and John Burdett, my FAVORITE books are by Cormac McCarthy and Updike and Walker Percy and Liz Jensen?

I don't know. Blame Marie. Everyone else does.

Marie is too much. She is beautiful and gr
Patrick Brown
This reminded me of a Highsmith novel, only the anti-hero's adventures aren't played for suspense in exactly the same way. There aren't really many near misses with the authorities, though there are a few twists and turns. But there's the same insane, off-kilter moral equivocating (stealing an old frienemy's husband and child are justifiable, but not stealing a stranger's stroller), the same delusional self-confidence. It takes real talent to walk that tightrope that stretches the span between " ...more
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 fuck up. She's also got a big, twisted heart that
E Singer
It was intriguing to be inside the head of Marie. I've never come across a character like her. I would guess she is a sociopath, consumed with only herself and her immediate desires. She will take you on an unexpected journey and you will not be able to put the book down! Can't wait to read Marcy Dermansky's other novel, The Twins!
Ethel Rohan
This deceptively simple book was a gripping read and I felt my chest clutch throughout, and whole body sigh at the novel's end. Told in clear, concise prose, Dermansky's characterization of the novel's protagonist, Marie, is masterful. Though a deeply flawed character, I cared a great deal about Marie and found myself hoping for her all the way, even while knowing her situation was impossible.

That sense of the inevitable and the impossible at the end of the novel will stay with me for a long tim
Caitlin Constantine
I found this book through a discussion of unlikeable characters at The Millions, which is one of those random literary happenstance events that have been occurring quite a bit for me these days. Anyway, the point of the discussion was that oftentimes many readers will gauge their appreciation of a book on how much they liked the main character (or even worse, how much they could relate to the main character). The author held up Bad Marie as an example of a book with a rotten main character that ...more
Burned through this in 48 hours and I wasn’t even trying.

Bad Marie is a hard character to like, but fun to follow around on her adventures. I kept marveling at her talent for self-delusion and wondering where her brazenness would take her next. People who need to like a character to like a book may not enjoy this, but I appreciated the plot-driven story, the entertainment value, and the wry writing.

This is a woman whose moral compass is permanently on the fritz. Marie is always just Marie, sel
It's scandalous that the New York Times didn't give this book the two-review, author-profile treatment--it's thrillingly plotted, very literary, and gleefully impious. I think Jennifer Weiner is right when she says:

"What made these books—or, at least, their authors—so hard for the critics to embrace? Why didn’t they get the attention that translates into sales? Why so much love for Franzen and Shteyngart and hardly any ink for Emma Donoghue and Marcy Dermansky?

I blame the children.

After all, wr
This is a truly vile book. I can't imagine why anyone would give it a positive rating. It is a slight but ugly story about weakness and evil in which the author, through the protagonist, exploits the fear and loneliness of a kidnapped 2 year old and portrays an abandoned cat so starved and desperate that it loses its teeth trying to bite through metal to get at food. Why present child and animal suffering as central features of a novel along with an unending exposition of fraud, betrayal, theft, ...more
Cienne Olaes
Marie is bad, or is she really? Marie just isn’t bad enough. If the author wanted to project the opposite, she didn’t do well on that either. The characters are all on the neutral side; no one has given a strong impact to the reader or at least to me.

Wish there was some brutal sense to it, so I could really feel how bad Marie is or that how bad things turned out for her. I did not feel for her all throughout the story. I just read page after page, always wondering what will happen next and every
This was exactly the reading jumpstart I needed. I've been struggling through books lately, pushing my way through book club selections and endless classics and not a bit excited about any of them. Then came Bad Marie. I read it in less than 24 hours, something I can't remember having done in the 12+ months since my daughter was born.

Its paperback, its short, its fabulously twisted and full of vicarious thrills. I came away with a love and appreciation for despicable Marie. I had this on my lis
A hard-drinking ex-convict fresh out of prison, Marie takes a job as a nanny and soon runs off to Paris with the little girl and the French husband, who turns out to be the author of her favorite book--a novel about a lonely girl in love with a sea lion--that she discovered in prison. Marie is selfish, rebellious, and proudly immature--she wears purple Converse high tops as proof--but she is also profoundly romantic and naive, making one bad decision after another, so that you sympathize with he ...more
I would have given this a 5 if I didn't just rate the Round House which was a total 5 for me. Let's say a 4.5 for Bad Marie. The story is a thriller in that you feel the train wreck of Marie's life yet cannot stop it. What will she do next????!!! Fabulous twist and turns that leaves you wanting to give her an intervention and yet be her friend. Oh heck....I just changed it to a 5....It was a great book.
Linda Lilja
I loved this book about a young woman who lives on the edge of life. It was a quick read and one I will reread. It reminded me of going to a movie in the afternoon, being totally immersed in the experience and feeling startled when it was over and I exited into the bright daylight. I will read her other novel. Hope it is in Sony.
This is a funny, sad, brilliant book to read in one enjoyable and worried sitting. Don't miss the chance to meet Bad Marie. And Caitlin.
Adele Griffin
pure pleasure even if you're reading with one eye closed and cringing from what she might do next.
I picked up this book during a completely self-indulgent weekend; shopping, eating, and drinking by myself in Portsmouth then dealing with the aftermath on the couch the next day not touching the piles of laundry or dealing with the plumbing situation in the bathroom. Call me the ostrich. Little did I know when I grabbed the small book at River Run bookstore in Portsmouth just how perfect Bad Marie would be for my selfish weekend. When I started reading the book in the bookstore, I knew that I w ...more
Oh how I loved this book. I loved the name. I loved the cover (Marie never smokes in the book, not even once, but the cover picture shows a woman smoking, which is somehow perfect, that incongruence). I loved the writing and the plot and everything about it.

It was just too wild a story and too beautifully written for me to spoil it by giving away any details. Read this book, but don't read the cover flap or any other synopsis, just open the book to the first page and let Marie into your life. Bu
Barb Johnson
Marcy Dermansky makes it easy to love Marie, a husband-stealing, baby-snatching, underachieving ex-con. The author sends us rocketing along on a brilliant, bumpy ride across the ever-changing landscape formed by the simple loves, the staggering losses and the bad choices that make up Marie’s existence. Fast-paced and unsentimental, Bad Marie blazes with life.

Available for preorder now.
Julia Fierro
I read this incredibly entertaining, fun, but also surprisingly moving book in one sitting. Definitely one of the best reads I've had in the last few years.
A more thorough review to come!
Glenda Bailey-Mershon
May 13, 2014 Glenda Bailey-Mershon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to laugh and to dig deep into character.
Shelves: owned, fiction
Loved this book so much, I wrote a blog post about it.
Apr 27, 2011 Rory rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who care for children, people who've been to prison
Fast and out-of-control. But not cheap. This book (almost a novella) smacked my ass and rattled my brain.
Peter Landau
Run-DMC made it clear, in their song “Peter Piper,” the vernacular use of bad: “Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good.” That lyric played in my head not once during the reading of BAD MARIE by Marcy Dermansky. But just to be clear, the Marie of the title is bad, not meaning good, but then that’s your moral hangup.

The book opens with our lead working as an au pair for an old friend and, like many of us at the end of a long day, she wants to relax with a cigarette and maybe a tumbler of whiske
Apr 16, 2013 sj rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sj by: Kate
Today's TT feature is different from some of those in the past. Different because I actually really liked this book. This is, like, classy trash, I guess (can I pack more commas in a sentence, geez).

If you're not familiar with Trashy Tuesday, you can click that thing up there under the header that says What Is Trashy Tuesday?...although maybe you shouldn't cos I need to revamp that ish. NEVER MIND.

First time at the Trashy Tuesday Rodeo? You need to know that it's about to get all spoilery up in
This was the most fun I've had inside the pages of a novel in quite a while. I have whole paragraphs circled in my paperback. Dermansky's spot-on sense of timing and her quick wit laced with great sincerity for her characters make this a compelling read. Her characters are incredibly flawed and contradictory, but Dermansky is nonjudgmental in even the most extreme circumstances, which is refreshing. There's a lot of heart here and I fell in love with the characters (even that ratty little cat on ...more
The best thing about this book is Caitlin, the 2 1/2 year old around whom much of the plot centers. I like the way Dermansky faithfully and realistically depicts her speech, her whims, her tantrums and her inherent compelling loveablenes without pretending to show us what goes on inside her head. It's a neat trick, having a character who dominates the narrative to such an extent, but who is essentially a heartbreakingly lovable, maddening, exhausting enigma (as any toddler is). Marie, the ostens ...more
It's been awhile since I sat down and read any book cover to cover in one day, mostly because I never have the time. But on this last week of summer vacation, I was tempted by the cover of this sexy paperback, and the genius first sentence: "Sometimes, Marie got a little drunk at work." How can you NOT read a book that starts like that straight through? Drifting through life, thirty year old hot nanny Marie wanders from one bad situation into another, mostly because she lives each day with no th ...more
Anna  (Bananas!)
Almost 4 stars. Close enough for me. The plot is perhaps too slight... What I really enjoyed was the writing, the way the author blended one scene, description, or conversation into another and another. The story just flowed, making it effortless to read, almost like poetry - simple yet beautiful. Even the characters' names had a comforting ease to them: Marie, Ellen, Caitlin, Benoit.

Bad Marie doesn't have anything particularly significant to say (that sounds harsher than I mean it, really), bu
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Marcy Dermansky is the author of the novels Bad Marie and Twins. Her third novel will be published by Liveright, Norton in the fall of 2016.

Hailed by The Nervous Breakdown’s Gina Frangello as “genuinely sexy, dark and subversive but also freaking weirdly hilarious,” Bad Marie has been selected as a Barnes and Noble Fall 2010 Discover Great New Writers pick. Time Magazine pronounced Bad Marie “irre
More about Marcy Dermansky...

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