Marlee's World


Fiction - Short Story/Novela
74 Pages
Reviewed on 08/14/2021
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Author Biography

Gerard Bianco is an award-winning author and artist. He was born in Brooklyn, NY.
He holds an MFA in Writing and teaches creative writing.
His short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. He studied art at the Arts Students League of New York and at the School of Visual Arts. His portraits and illustrations hang in public, corporate, and private collections throughout the United States, including the US Navy Art Collection.
He lives in Maine where he is hard at work, illustrating his next imaginary tale.
Visit the author’s website at: www.GerardBianco.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A young woman embarks on an adventure with her husband and friends that comes to an astonishing end in the dramatic short story Marlee's World by Gerard Bianco. Marlee is unusual in that she secretly converses with inanimate objects and distinguishes people by their auras. Although amazingly beautiful and amenable, Marlee has no self-confidence. In comparison, her husband, Sean, is quick-tempered and domineering and takes pleasure in badgering Marlee. Not happy with her situation, Marlee finds solace in communicating with her friends Pail, Lamp, and Bed. Pail, Lamp, and Bed don't like Sean and try to persuade Marlee to leave him. However, Marlee isn't ready to give up on her marriage. Recently, Sean and his best friend Eric have planned a couples' vacation, keeping the destination and details a secret from Marlee and Eric's wife, Beal. While Marlee is preparing to leave, Bed, Pail, and Lamp urge her to grab her suitcase and run away, and as always, Marlee pushes aside their concerns and ignores their advice. But Marlee almost changes her mind when she learns Sean is planning on taking a gun. What kind of vacation retreat requires a firearm? Will Marlee and Beal be in danger?

Unforgettable, Marlee's World by Gerard Bianco is a dramatic and provocative work of fiction. Skillfully written, the story contains unique characters, an imaginative plot, and a captivating storyline. With her unique character traits, Marlee is a fascinating protagonist. Her conflicts with her husband are sadly realistic, making it easy to love Marlee and dislike Sean. Her story is the epitome of a tragic case of an abusive relationship. It is impressive how well the characters and the storyline evolved and developed in so few pages. I loved the addition of the incredible illustrations and the eye-catching chapter headings. Containing amusing situations, heartrending scenes, and a shocking conclusion, it is an entertaining novella that I will not soon forget. Due to explicit language and sexual nuances, it is more suitable for mature readers.

Francis Mont

Marlee's World by Gerard Bianco is an unusually intriguing story. It is primarily about Marlee, a young woman married to Sean, an Irish man with a checkered past and a volatile temper. Marlee is on the verge of leaving him for good, pending the outcome of a week-long vacation they, or rather Sean, are planning: to an unknown destination with considerable secrecy. They are to share a car with another couple, Eric and Beal, their closest friends. The first four chapters describe the four of them and their relationships, and the reader is duly warned about the explosive dynamic among these four unlikely people. Marlee is neurotic when faced with the challenge of packing for a trip to an unknown place, and Beal couldn’t care less as long as she can discover new places to shop. Eric seems to be in love with his “vintage 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Hardtop Retractable Convertible” car way more than with his wife, and Sean has packed a handgun, in secret, for the trip. The omens aren’t good.

I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much over totally dysfunctional people sharing a car ride on a vacation. The character descriptions are just marvelous. They make unbelievable people almost believable. Marlee sees people as blobs of color and has vivid conversations with inanimate objects that hold up well in the chatter. Beal is occupied with lesbian fantasies, hoping to seduce Marlee, stubbornly oblivious to Beal's increasingly blatant approaches. The humor is subtle, yet irresistible and the plot evolves at a breakneck speed. The unexpected ending is packed with symbolism, leaving the reader to wonder if he missed a deeper meaning. I recommend Marlee's World by Gerard Bianco to anyone who likes intriguing, even disturbing, stories that are both entertaining and suggestive of our deeper, hidden realities. The thirteen watercolor illustrations are the icing on the cake.

Joe Wisinski

Marlee's World by Gerard Bianco is the story of two couples who take a road trip together. The trip starts from the couples’ homes in Maine in October, and the odd part of their trip is that the wives don’t know where they’re going, and therefore don’t know what to pack. Another oddity is that the protagonist, Marlee, has the ability to talk to, including getting responses from, inanimate objects. As the trip progresses there is tension between the couples and a different kind of tension between Marlee and her female friend Beal. The book includes 13 illustrations, some of the main characters and others of significant objects or scenes. Bianco himself created the illustrations. One caution for readers: the author says that there is explicit language, and there is quite a bit of it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Marlee's World. The story contains several unforeseen developments; for example, author Gerard Bianco had me completely fooled about the destination the two couples were headed to. Similarly, Bianco does an excellent job of not foreshadowing the conclusion. Even though the story contains fantastical elements, such as Marlee being able to converse with inanimate objects, it rings true. I can see real-life characters acting just as the four main characters do. I laughed out loud at the restroom incident (I won’t say what happened so as to not spoil the story) and felt sorry for Marlee. It’s unusual for a story to include drawings of what the characters look like in the author’s mind, so Bianco’s illustrations added a lot to my enjoyment. I recommend Marlee's World to anyone who’s looking for a book that combines fantasy and all-to-accurate reality.

Nicholus Schroeder

Marlee’s World was written and illustrated by Gerard Bianco. The book is about a woman called Marlee who can talk to inanimate objects, such as her bedside lamp and a door knob. Marlee could’ve been a model living the good life, instead she’s stuck with a husband that she no longer loves and an unfulfilling life. There is going to be a reprieve from the boredom she hopes, as her husband has planned a surprise vacation for themselves along with Eric and Beal, a couple that they’re well acquainted with. The exact details of the locale for the getaway aren’t shared with Marlee, and this makes selecting clothes for the trip difficult. Marlee decides to ask Beal for some help with picking out what she should pack, but that’s when things start getting a bit weird and confusing for Marlee.

Marlee’s World was a fairly short read but for the most part, the pacing was right. The plot was really good especially the ending. Although it was quite a cliffhanger and raised a lot of questions, I still loved it. Characters are well written, and each is unique and not a cardboard cutout. Having such great characters in a succinct book is quite a challenge, but Gerard did a good job. Illustrations found at the start of each chapter were also a nice addition and they have a paint brush style. The illustrations are detailed and clear, especially the eyes of characters, as they're shockingly life-like. This book was also quite humorous, and it has been quite some time since a book last made me laugh this much. The banter between the pail, bed and lamp was nothing short of excellent comedy. In conclusion, this was a pleasant read for me, and I’d recommend Marlee’s World to any reader, regardless of what genre they prefer, as it’s quite an amazing book.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Marlee’s life is pretty bleak. Stuck in a small, dingy apartment, she lives an unexciting life punctuated by violent outbursts from her abusive husband, Sean. Her only human correspondence consists of Sean’s friend, Eric, and his wife, Beal. Even then, all Marlee can perceive about them is their auras with specific colors for each. Her only companions, the constantly bickering inanimate objects of her room, urge her to leave this sorry excuse of a married life. However, she hasn’t been able to do that yet. When Sean and Eric plan a surprise trip for their wives, Marlee can hardly wait to escape her confined quarters. Find out what happens on this fateful trip in Gerard Bianco’s illustrated short story, Marlee’s World.

The book included eleven eye-catching illustrations that conveyed everything you needed to know about the characters or their feelings. Bianco portrayed a hapless adult who knew where her life went wrong but failed to change it. Marlee, who wasn’t particularly strong or independent, had completely lost any control over her life. While I couldn’t say I identified with her, I could empathize with her plight. When everything went wrong on the trip, with horrific experiences piled atop one another, I was almost on the verge of crying. With three despicable companions, Marlee found solace talking to a doorknob. She could relate to the doorknob, whose story mirrored her own miserable life. I desperately wanted her to escape this meaningless existence, yet her fate took me by surprise. While Marlee’s World was not a happy story, it could serve as a cautionary tale, reminding us to heed the red flags in our lives.

Brian Enright

5.0 out of 5 stars Marlee captures your heart!
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2021
You simply want to wrap your arms around Marlee from the opening page of this story! Gerard Bianco continues to create characters that elicit feelings from his readers because of the depth that he takes you into each of their stories and the story that they weave together. When you add to that the beauty of each of his illustrations you have a book that you will keep revisiting for a very long time! Another sure hit by this imaginative author!

Joanne Wheeler Fishman

5.0 out of 5 stars Not a children’s book - most definitely a must read.
Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2021
I absolutely love this book. It’s brilliant. The imagination depicted by author and illustrator Gerard Bianco captured mine. The illustrations are beautifully done.

An Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Attitude & personalities can make a difference in how one see you
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2021
Marlee’s World is a unique story that emphasizes the chaos that surrounds our everyday lives. The author brings his characters to life, And their volatile personalities play a large part in altering the behavioral moods of one another. There are also times that the story makes us laugh, and keeps us in a state of suspended reality, allowing our imagination to wander. I really enjoyed this book !