i thought i’d love bad marie, turns out, i’m just like everyone in marie’s life; we like her, but we don’t love her.
marie is recently out of prison fo...morei thought i’d love bad marie, turns out, i’m just like everyone in marie’s life; we like her, but we don’t love her.
marie is recently out of prison for being an accessory to her boyfriend’s bank robbery and escape. sort of. she had met him only a week or so prior, but her passion was strong enough for the word “love” to come into use. she served a few years, getting out on good behaviour (does anyone serve their full jail sentence these days?). her boyfriend of a few weeks had killed himself in jail. upon release, her old friend ellen, whose parents were like marie’s second family, allows marie to take care of her daughter caitlin, as a nanny of sorts. not many nannies take baths with their charges, or drink and smoke in front of them though. the story takes off when marie is discovered naked in the tub, passed out, by ellen and ellen’s french husband benôit doniel.
to be clear, i’m not sure why ellen ever thought it’d be a good idea to hire marie. it comes out later in the novel that she’s resented her since they were kids, sharing everything with her though she wasn’t family. and maybe the worst part, ellen was nice to her despite marie never treating her like a friend.
(to entrust someone you do not really like but feel indebted to for some reason with your child is much bolder than my strict european upbringing allows.)
during the tub incident, ellen’s husband notices marie and from there on, plotting occurs to sleep with one another. however, marie has ulterior motives. benôit doniel just happens to have written her favourite book, virginie at sea, which she’s read and re-read during her time in jail.
i read this book in a day on my kindle, more accurately in a few hours. i haven’t done that with a book in longer than i can remember, but it wasn’t for my usual reasons. yes, i was interested in the plot and i wanted to see where the plot would lead, but i wasn’t invested in marie. most of the time, a novel holds me because of my own interest in the characters.
upon finishing the book, i thought this was a fault of mine or a shortcoming of the book, but i think this is actually something the author can be proud of – marie’s choices are rash, her life is mostly unstable and shy of her enduring love for caitlin, you cannot pin her down to a sentiment and expect her to stick to it. despite that, the actions she does make you curious to see where they end up. i would compare this to the adage of being unable to turn away from a trainwreck, but that makes it sound negative. it doesn’t always have to be the character that i’m invested in for me to stick around (and to even enjoy it a bit).
the book does take you to quite a few places. marie’s travels take her to paris and to mexico and to the sea, all unexpectedly. there’s, again, that aloof manner in marie, where even though she’s in all of these grand places, it isn’t as meaningful for her. the character it does impact, is caitlin. she takes in paris and mexico and i found myself wondering more and more often what her character was thinking in regards to certain things that marie does. i wonder if caitlin would react to her as i did.
another strange thread, i really couldn’t help but see virginie at the sea and not think of to the lighthouse. i wasn’t sure if this was because of the similaries – virginie versus virginia and the drowning at the end which certainly mimics the ending that virginia herself faced, the huge ties to “family” and just the notion of the sea (which plays such a huge part of virginia’s work). i don’t know if i’m reading too far into it (i do that pretty often) or if others drew comparisons as well.(less)
i picked up a copy of common pornography for the kindle, mostly on a whim (or my secret love and devotion for lidia yuknavitch. don't tell her). the a...morei picked up a copy of common pornography for the kindle, mostly on a whim (or my secret love and devotion for lidia yuknavitch. don't tell her). the author is a portland writer that i'm familiar with and i'd heard a lot about the memoir. many of the memoirs i see don't sound interesting to me. i'm not big on reading about famous people. i can tell you though, kevin sampsell has had one hell of a life. his family is large and varied. he's not shy to talk about his sexual experiences of the "dirty laundry" that many would try to not put onto paper, to publish. i appreciated the candor. i wasn't sure the book would be for me when i started reading it but i was genuinely intrigued by where the vignettes were going and in his writing style. as soon as you realize that you're getting brutal honesty and a bit of self-deprecating humour, you can fully enjoy the novel.(less)
i read the clown as part of a book club read, and it's not the kind of book i'd usually read. it follows the days of hans schnier, a clown by trade, a...morei read the clown as part of a book club read, and it's not the kind of book i'd usually read. it follows the days of hans schnier, a clown by trade, after the love of his life leaves him because he refuses to marry her within the catholic church. to say that hans is a strange man is an understatement. he's never been with anyone but marie and he's never wanted to be anything but a clown, despite being from a rather rich family. in his depressed and weakened state (somehow, he manages to also screw up his knee beyond belief), he calls most of the people in his life to ask for money, to rant. i make the book sound boring and it wasn't. i enjoyed it thoroughly while i was reading it (and heinrich boll is a nobel prize winning author, the first german author to have won the prize for literature since hesse). if you're interested in a book that will give you a skeptic's view on life, religion, post-war germany and human behavior and logic, this is your book.(less)
i haven't read this since high school in mr. stevenson's class (why do i still remember that?) and i loved it even more this time around, mostly, i th...morei haven't read this since high school in mr. stevenson's class (why do i still remember that?) and i loved it even more this time around, mostly, i think because of the biography i'm reading alongside this. so much of her early upbringing is portrayed through the young characters in her stories. i'll write up some kind of intelligent post about it when i've gathered my thoughts and finished the biography. (less)