Title: Cemetery Girl
Author: David Bell
No. of Pages: 400
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
“Four years after Tom and Abby’s 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.”
Thoughts: Unlike more recent abduction stories, Cemetery Girl explores what happens with those left behind. Tom and Abby must deal with their loss, grief and indecision to move on after four years. Just when things appear to be getting better, they must then deal with the very real phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome, which is almost more debilitating and frightening than when a child’s fate is unknown. David Bell does an excellent job of capturing Tom’s wildly cycling emotions. Similarly, adult readers will empathize with Tom’s desperation to save his daughter at any cost and confusion over her need to go back to her captor. It is what is left unsaid that is truly frightening and what lends story its power. Cemetery Girl is a disturbing and breathtaking glimpse into the destruction wrought by abductions and a story that makes the reader thankful it is a work of fiction.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association for my copy!
Title: Bad Marie
Author: Marcy Dermansky
No. of Pages: 240
Genre: Literary Fiction
“Bad Marie is the story of Marie, tall, voluptuous, beautiful, thirty years old, and fresh from six years in prison for being an accessory to murder and armed robbery. The only job Marie can get on the outside is as a nanny for her childhood friend Ellen Kendall, an upwardly mobile Manhattan executive whose mother employed Marie’s mother as a housekeeper. After Marie moves in with Ellen, Ellen’s angelic baby Caitlin, and Ellen’s husband, a very attractive French novelist named Benoit Doniel, things get complicated, and almost before she knows what she’s doing, Marie has absconded to Paris with both Caitlin and Benoit Doniel. On the run and out of her depth, Marie will travel to distant shores and experience the highs and lows of foreign culture, lawless living, and motherhood as she figures out how to be an adult; how deeply she can love; and what it truly means to be ‘bad’.”
Thoughts: After hearing so many people rave about Bad Marie, citing it as one of their favorite reads of the year or of all time, I was expecting to love Marcy Dermansky’s book more than I did. While it was good, it was not so completely wonderful that I immediately started pushing it on others or would even list it among my top ten list for the year. Marie is a character who attempts to shock others in order to make herself feel more important, which makes her rather pathetic in my opinion. Her inability, or more likely unwillingness, to act according to her conscience is depressing, especially as it ultimately leads to her endangering the life of a little girl. I can appreciate the journey Marie is on trying to reconcile herself back into society after her stint in jail, but there was something about Marie that I could not overcome. Unfortunately, the book requires a close connection being the reader and Marie in order to be successful. Rather than being drawn into her story and being able to empathize with her, I found myself watching her antics from afar, horrified at both her actions and her justification for them. Without a relationship to Marie, the book simply falls flat.
Acknowledgements: Mine. All mine.
Cemetery Girl was definitely interesting. Bad Marie has won several awards and has received tons of accolades. It just wasn't for me, I guess.
Cemetary Girl sounds intriguging. Bad Marie … not so much.