Marie gets out of prison with a plan to find a rich benefactor and live her wildest dreams. Marie is in need of professional help for her out of control drinking and carelessness with life. Fresh out of prison for running to Mexico with her bank robber boyfriend Juan Jose she has a chance at a fresh start. Six years in jail afforded Marie a routine to follow and she really does not mind being locked up. There are three meals a day and her sole prison friend Ruby Hart to help her through the work hours where they are responsible for mending untold loads of prison laundry where they fulfill their work assignment.
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Juan Jose couldn't cut being locked up and killed himself. Although they had only been dating for one week when he robbed the bank Marie glamorizes the short relationship. His memory and the time they spent as fugitives in Mexico are a mainstay in Marie's fragile mind. With no money and refusing to return to her mother's house where she is assured of being beat down emotionally and verbally on a daily basis, Marie goes to the home of Ellen a childhood friend to seek employment.
Ellen has a daughter two-year-old Caitlin who needs a babysitter while Ellen works to support her child and her husband “author” husband Benoit Doniel. His book Virginia at Sea, had held Marie's attention from the moment she pulled it off the prison library shelf. She'd read it over and over taking in the characters and falling in love with the man who penned that words that offered her a mental escape from prison life.
Ellen hires Marie to babysit while she works and gives her a place to live. Although Marie sleeps in the basement she has run of the house during the day. Part of her duties are to give Caitlin a bath a night, which she does bringing a glass of wine or whiskey along. When she bathes with Marie and falls asleep in the tub Ellen is mortified to find the woman she left in charge of her toddler out cold drunk.
Ellen and Marie have a history, Marie's mother was the housekeeper for Ellen's mother. She and Marie lived next door to Ellen when they were girls and even though Ellen's mom holds a doctorate it is in an Romance Languages and she is not highly employable.
Ellen gives Marie a week to be out of her house and offers up five-hundred dollars to find a place. With only a week to make something happen Marie sets her sights on Benoit. He is a sleazy man and from the beginning it is easy to see that he married Ellen for her money.
Ellen allowed Marie a week under three conditions. She is not to drink in her home, bathe with her daughter, or talk to her husband. Ellen continues to do all three determined to seduce Benoit. They kiss in front of Caitlin and have sex while the little girl is napping.
Marie encourages Benoit to run away with her and he agrees. With Ellen's credit card in hand he Marie and Caitlin board a plane for London. Intrigued with the idea of Paris Marie is giddy with excitement. Benoit feels no guilt and when Ellen calls he simply ignores his cell phone. Unbeknownst to Benoit an old lover is on the plane seated directly behind him. She's been looking for him for years. Lili is an actress who has worked long enough to afford a beautiful apartment. Benoit tells Marie they will lodge with Lili because Ellen will be able to track her credit card to any hotel they stay in.
Lili is still in love with Benoit and she and Marie fight over him. Caitlin is missing her mommy but doesn't cry because her daddy is sitting next to her. When Lili confronts Marie she calls her a tramp and tells her that Benoit will have sex with anything, and he is not in love with her. She looks at Marie as a babysitter instead of his lover and was only tolerating her because she did not want to be bothered with Caitlin.
Benoit gets out of bed with Marie and sleeps with Lili right in her face. Marie isn't sure what to do. She only has the money Ellen has given her.
Full of pride Marie confronts Benoit determined to find somewhere else to sleep. Benoit suggests they go to his grandmothers house. After a long bus and train commute to the country the they arrive to find that his grandmother has been rushed to the hospital and is gravely ill. Her filthy and cluttered apartment stinks and her cat looks like he is starving to death. He has broken his teeth trying to open cans of cat food that litter the kitchen floor. Caitlin is terrified of the sick and ill-cared for cat. Marie is appalled that she has fallen so quickly in twenty-four hours. While she found Lili's attitude and forwardness towards Benoit objectionable, his grandmother's apartment was a disgrace.
They decide to have breakfast to think of another plan. While Benoit steps away Marie decides to strike out on her own with Caitlin. She takes her to the Eiffel Tower and splurges for lunch. A boat ride seems like a nice idea so they do that too. Marie thinks Caitlin might like to go to the sea and walk on the beach so they board a crowded bus. With no seat available for quite a while one finally opens in the back. Marie grabs it and tries to ignore a man with mirrored sunglasses and holey jeans. She tires of him staring and inquires about the book he is pretending to read. Turns out he's an actor too, a big movie star even though he tells Marie he is only twenty-five. He's headed to a friends glamourous beach house to “chill out”. He invites Marie and Caitlin along.
Eli is a generous man. He buys both Marie and Caitlin new clothes, but refuses sex when Marie offers something in exchange for his generosity. He has a fiance. While they dine at a swank outdoor restaurant paparazzi takes a photo that lands in all the tabloids. His fiance will find out and think he was cheating. He is understandably alarmed. Marie thinks the she looks great in the photo with the new clothes and lots of cleavage showing. She is with a big time movie star, she can't believe her luck and how envious others will be. Eli makes a split minute decision and tells Marie she has to leave immediately.
She doesn't know what to do and now Caitlin is crying for her mommy and daddy. They leave but not before Marie swipes Eli's credit card. She checks into a swank hotel, telling the desk clerk that her boyfriend the movie star will be joining her later that evening. She orders the most expensive items on from room service along with a bottle of whiskey, and she then takes a bath with Caitlin.
She figures her gig is up and that Eli will be on to her soon so she decides to leave the hotel. With no where to turn the only place she can think to go is Mexico. Juan Jose's family will surely take her in since they were practically married. Marie doesn't know they hold her responsible for the bank robbery, his six years in prison, and his suicide.
Her passport and the last of her money from Ellen gets them two tickets to Mexico. Juan Jose's mother and sisters are still living in the same house, but times are hard. They want no part of Marie. The best they offer are a cup of water for Marie and milk for Caitlin. Again, she is asked to leave before she has time to get comfortable.
She walks to the ocean with Caitlin both tired and hungry. She has done all she can and Caitlin really isn't her responsibility so she decides to leave the little girl on the beach while she commits suicide by drowning herself. She can't do it. She goes under and comes back up realizing that she has left a vulnerable child all alone. Amazingly, she finds Caitlin where she left her grabs her up and kisses her cheeks.
Best part of story, including ending:
I hated that Marie did not receive any help for her apparent mental illness or her alcohol addiction.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Caitlyn was not harmed when Marie abandoned her on the beach.
Opinion about the main character:
I hated that Marie never took any responsibility for her actions.