The First Bad Man

The First Bad ManIn her debut novel, The First Bad Man, Miranda July presents the story of a lonely 40 something woman named Cheryl Glickman Cheryl looks at the world in her own hopeful and peculiar way She fantasizes about an older man who is busy seducing a teenage girl, she tries to make psychic connections to a long lost baby named Kubelko Bondy, and she has therapy sessions with a woman who is not really a therapist and is actually having an affair with the therapist Cheryl should be seeing When Cheryl lets her bosses daughter, a young surly woman named Clee, move in with her, she takes on a person that she initially fears, but eventually loves and feels protective over Without giving too much away, I ll say that what happens between Cheryl and Clee makes The First Bad Man one of the strangest and most surprising novels of the year The way Miranda July writes about the inner life and longing of her characters is a thrill to read It s like she has a special kind of X ray vision, where she can see the way her characters really think and act, and even when they re weird or inappropriate, she still presents them to us unashamedly And among their character flaws and their need to be loved, we, as readers, see ourselves. I ve been meaning to buy that one myself, Yeah I saw Lena Dunham gave it a good review so I hadto pick it upThe interaction between the lady behind the counter in Waterstone s and I when I bought this book The First Bad Man is a novel that has been hyped for months Literally every single of those Reads to Look Out For in 2015 lists has had this one near the top I must admit that this is my first experience with July s writing I know she has some short stories floating around somewhere so I ll catch them eventually So, is The First Bad Man deserving of the hype Yes Or no actually No, yes Hmm Maybe Let s see We are presented with Cheryl Glickman, our protaginist A woman who Dave Eggers called, one of the most original, most confounding and strangely sympathetic characters in recent fiction I have a feeling that Eggers has been diagnosed with a severe case of hyperbole here In many ways, Cheryl reminded me of a highly neurotic version of the protaginist of Jenny Offill s brilliant short novel Dept of Speculation, one of the best novels of last year I ve seen many review of this novel describing Cheryl as quirky God I hate that word I refuse to ever use it Cheryl is highly individual, eccentric, and idiosyncratic She s Frances Ha and Annie Hall She gets dumped with her boss daughter, ninteen year old Clee, and this is where the novel tries to begin Not only does Cheryl, a woman in her early forties, have to deal with a teenager claiming squatter s rights on her sofa, she is also kind of obsessed with Phillip, a man who is twenty years her senior However, Phillip has other, Nabokovian, plans The first half of this novel middles along It mainly concerns Cheryl s life and those around her Nothing much happens I might even go so far as to say the first half is boring Well it isn t boring per se To use Art Historical terms, the first half is Northern Renaissance and the second half is Rococo The novel comes alive in the second half due to an event which inverts everything on its head Suddenly you begin caring about the characters You see their human side It was in the second half that I really began enjoying this odd, odd novel The plot is like that of the seminal classic Weird Science At first it s great, partying with mid 1980s Kelly LeBrock but then you ve got to deal with real issues Like Bill Paxton being turned into a gigantic talking pile of shit.This novel is definitely weird It s different There isn t a single sane character in there It s like an episode of Kath Kim but also not like that at all Margaret Atwood meets Woody Allen in this novel but not in the way you want So, can we answer the question now Is The First Bad Man worth the hype I say, yes Yes because it is unlike any other novel I ve read Yes because it makes you laugh at the most inappropriate of things Yes because of the phrase mutual soaping Yes because it is a realistic portrayal of life, no matter how zany Yes It is worth the hype. From The Acclaimed Filmmaker, Artist, And Bestselling Author Of No One Belongs Here More Than You, A Spectacular Debut Novel That Is So Heartbreaking, So Dirty, So Tender, So Funny So Miranda July That Readers Will Be Blown AwayHere Is Cheryl, A Tightly Wound, Vulnerable Woman Who Lives Alone, With A Perpetual Lump In Her Throat She Is Haunted By A Baby Boy She Met When She Was Six, Who Sometimes Recurs As Other People S Babies Cheryl Is Also Obsessed With Phillip, A Philandering Board Member At The Women S Self Defense Nonprofit Where She Works She Believes They Ve Been Making Love For Many Lifetimes, Though They Have Yet To Consummate In This OneWhen Cheryl S Bosses Ask If Their Twenty One Year Old Daughter, Clee, Can Move Into Her House For A Little While, Cheryl S Eccentrically Ordered World Explodes And Yet It Is Clee The Selfish, Cruel Blond Bombshell Who Bullies Cheryl Into Reality And, Unexpectedly, Provides Her The Love Of A LifetimeTender, Gripping, Slyly Hilarious, Infused With Raging Sexual Obsession And Fierce Maternal Love, Miranda July S First Novel Confirms Her As A Spectacularly Original, Iconic, And Important Voice Today, And A Writer For All Time The First Bad Man Is Dazzling, Disorienting, And Unforgettable WOW I have never turned on a book so quickly in my entire life When I started it I was in LOVE with its unique, odd hilariousness But then shit got REAL weird Fantasy sex stuff that wasn t interesting or funny at all Just as I d be about to give up, July would go back to her normal funniness about something totally mundane the Japanese customs of her bosses, the therapist and I d remember how enjoyable she is when she s just developing characters In the end, I was really touched by the characters My response was surprisingly emotional People say they wish goodreads had half stars I wish goodreads had a you could put after the stars As in I liked it QUESTION MARK Three stars PS this is the last time I get psyched about a book 10% in. Waited for weeks to get it at the library Checked it out first day Forgot it at The Mill Remember leaving it on the bar Enjoy the free discard, Mill person I am the 2nd bad man. Miranda July, you wonderfully weird creature This book is probably one of the craziest things I ve ever read, but it works, absolutely and completely She crafts sentences that make you think the world was missing something until they were written She finds genuine humor in the sadness, and poignancy in the mundane I wondered how many other women had sat on this toilet and stared at this floor Each of them the center of their own world, all of them yearning for someone to put their love into so they could see their love, see that they had it If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have And, of course, it wouldn t be the same if I wasn t scarred for life by a piece of her work Has anyone else seen Me and You and Everyone We Know Then you know what I m talking about I really hope none of my fellow bus riders were reading over my shoulder during the odd, explicit sex parts As uncomfortable as they often were to read, though, they were so often bookended by incredible passages that pulled me right back into the story.In summary, it was amazing, though not without its cringeworthy moments But they aren t cringeworthy because they are bad they are cringeworthy because people are weird and flawed and real, and it s rare to see that in such a transparent way. I read this one for a 21st Century Literature group read.I am struggling to decide on the rating because it is such an odd quirky mixture of styles, and I loved some parts and hated others On the whole there are just about enough positives to justify 4 stars.It starts brilliantly the 40 something single narrator Cheryl has a distinctive voice that is often very funny Things then become pretty dark and claustrophobic as her relationship with her young lodger Clee becomes confrontational, but the last third of the book is a much conventional story of the redemptive power of motherhood July clearly revels in breaking taboos and surprising her readers, so it was a little strange to me that the ending was the most predictable part of the book. ii dont knowthis was either brilliant or odd or both i need time to process Typically when I don t like a buzz book I delight in mocking word choices and flimsy chapters or the thin line separating the novel s plot and the author s bio The book becomes a contender for worst of the year and I quietly, okay not so quietly, dare someone, anyone to write something worse When I don t like a book by Miranda July, my second inclination is to assume that there must be something wrong with me I adore Miranda July The Artist and all the weird shit that brews behind those slightly alarmed looking eyes I was with her that time she did that social experiment involving the Penny Saver and I was with her when she made the movie that included a talking cat I downloaded her app until I needed the storage space and I subscribed to the Email Project But sometimes I ll just be walking along and I ll think of the short story from her collection No One Belongs Here More Than You that starred a woman who taught land based swimming lessons in her living room and I ll kind of shake my head because that one still doesn t make sense and even kind of bugs me In July s The First Bad Man, Cheryl is a socially awkward 40 something who works at a non profit that has recently rebranded its self defense how tos as fitness videos She quietly pines over a 60 something board member who is always saying asshole y things to her, which she assumes is done in an ironic way She s honed her home life to a smoothly run operation built around the optimization of her every movement She understands that if things get lax, if dishes pile up, it s the fast track to depression which ends with peeing in mason jars Phillip, the board member, seems to be returning her affections, but really he is just warming her up to confess that he has fallen in love with an underaged girl but that he hasn t yet consummated the relationship and he won t unless Cheryl gives the okay As he waits for her to decide if it s okay, he sends her status updates on the sexual side of things The girl has been rubbed through the jeans She s held his stiff member That sort of thing Meanwhile, Cheryl ends up sharing her home with Clee her bosses big blonde daughter who is supposed to be looking for work in Los Angeles Things are a bit contemptuous on the Clee to Cheryl front, and eventually the former is waging physical attacks on the latter which Cheryl combats by turning these go rounds into reenactments of the Open Palm video series Then it starts to get pant y between them though Clee s foot odor is a bit of a bonerkiller Through all of this is a situation with a therapist who plays a receptionist as a twice yearly bit of role playing, and Cheryl is drawn to certain babies who speak to her on a cellular level And there are the regular texts from Phillip, which she uses in her super rich fantasy life At first I was ambivalent I d moved past caressing the cover and dug in deep to find that well, it wasn t screaming to me every time I set it aside Then I actively hated it for a while This ugly period faded and I had a sort of kind of renewed interest that morphed into something along the lines of This is a Book with Words in it That I am Reading For Now The End.In the meantime, everybody is loving this book Lena Dunham posted a photo of herself holding a copy and she credited July with being fresh New York Times likes it, though the reviewer sounds like she s trying to convince herself along with Book Review readers, Boston Globe, AV Club, etc To not like this book feels like an inadvertent admission of a character flaw The opposite of a humble brag It s not July It s me Writing about this book and talking about it with other readers has made me question my own judgement It sounds funny You re right Lena, it does sound fresh There are great lines, there are interesting ideas about relationships and the characters are truly unique It is, I believe, even pretty funny The problem It s not fun to read The characters actions are nonsensical The plot twists aren t compelling When a character gobbles at her placenta like it s leftover spaghetti I rolled my eyes so hard I almost pulled a forehead vein I ve defended July against this in the past, but this time it s true Quirky for quirky sake The worst kind of quirky I just didn t like it. The first BAD book by Miranda Julynot sure as it is the first and last I ll read by her Bizarre is a good way to describe it The main character Cheryl mid 40 s faces anxiety with disturbing sexual fantasies She suffers from OCD and is mentally unstable She is unlikable and the story is just plain weird Three quarters through and no improvement It s a hands down loser Throwing this one in the abandoned pile.

Miranda July born February 15, 1974 is a performance artist, musician, writer, actress and film director She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, after having lived for many years in Portland, Oregon Born Miranda Jennifer Grossinger, she works under the surname of July, which can be traced to a character from a girlzine Miranda created with a high school friend called Snarla Mir

☆ [PDF / Epub] ★ The First Bad Man By Miranda July ✩ –
  • Kindle Edition
  • 288 pages
  • The First Bad Man
  • Miranda July
  • English
  • 13 August 2018

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