Marie truly is bad—a toddler kidnapping, husband stealing ex-con with a giant chip on her shoulder.
As the novel by Dermansky (Twins, 2005) begins, Marie’s just served six years in prison for helping her boyfriend (of less than a week) Juan José escape to Mexico after he was involved in a fatal bank robbery. For reasons that never ring true, as soon as she’s released Marie lucks into a nanny job with her childhood friend/nemesis Ellen, a successful New York lawyer. Marie’s widowed mother worked as a part-time housekeeper (despite her doctorate) for Ellen’s parents, who forced the two girls into friendship. Marie used to steal from Ellen then and she steals from her now—at first jewelry, liquor and money. Ellen’s two-year-old daughter Caitlin adores Marie, and Marie is happily ensconced until the night Ellen and her handsome French husband Benoît come home to discover Marie passed out in a full tub with Caitlin. Ellen is outraged; Benoît, the author of Marie’s favorite novel, is aroused. By the next day he’s in bed with Marie, and soon, using hapless Ellen’s credit card, he’s buying airline tickets to Paris for himself, Marie and Caitlin. But on the plane he runs into his old girlfriend, now a famous actress. By the time Marie realizes that he took credit for writing his sister’s novel after she committed suicide, he’s abandoned Marie for the actress. With Caitlin and a stolen stroller in tow, Marie heads to the Riviera with a kindly movie star. When he asks Marie to leave, she and Caitlin head to Mexico where she remembers spending happy times with Juan José, who later committed suicide in prison. But his family hates her. She abandons Caitlin on the beach to attempt suicide but has second thoughts. Miraculously Caitlin remains safe. Marie checks them into a resort with a stolen credit card and waits for what will happen next.
Some will find this morally ambiguous little romp delicious, others repellent.