|The First Bad Man
"I drove to the doctor's office as if I was starring in a movie Phillip was watching - windows down, just one hand on the wheel."
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--readers will be blown away.
Here 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 non-profit where she works. She believes they've been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate in this one.
When 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 lifetime.
Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual fantasies 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.
I had NO expectations going into this book, nor did I know much about it since it was placed in my lap to review. Sometimes I think this helps and more often than not, this is how I discover new Authors I end up loving. I'm not overly gaga towards Miranda July after this, but I might be a little starry eyed if I see her in person. Let me explain, the plot of this book was little more than "meh" (with a shrug of your shoulders). So why am I rating it so high? Good question reader! I absolutely LOVE the way July can verbalize on paper the inner thoughts of a person, I'm talking about those deep, down, hidden thoughts.... the ones you probably wouldn't share with your best friend/lover/spouse, THOSE thoughts. Gah, I love when Authors can capture things like that. It makes me remember why I have FAVORITE authors. Funny thing is, I actually bought an "e-book deal" of hers, "No One Belongs Here More Than You" and was planning on reading it... but then I got accepted to read and review this for netgalley. I'm excited to have something else of hers to read sitting on my kindle!
Okay, so the deal is... I have to give a disclaimer to all those readers who don't like anything raunchy, sexually explicit and sometimes controversially upsetting, The First Bad Man has all of that. Remember how I said I didn't really like the story? Well let me give you a tiny breakdown and you can decide to risk it or not. The main character, Cheryl, is a middle aged woman, living alone in a tidy organized apartment and works at a very productive office. One day the owners of the company ask if someone can take in their daughter, who is trying to find her way in life via acting. This task ultimately ends up in Cheryl's lap and this ends up "literally" the case... in her lap (wink, wink... if you know what I mean). So Cheryl has her life turned upside down with this creatures crazy unsanitary ways and ultimately we get to see Cheryl grow into someone different and more tolerable of everything around her. I'm still not sure if she was happier the way before or after, that would be fun to discuss.
The best parts of the book are entwined in the language and writing Miranda July intricately plucks out... right out of our brains. I don't know how to explain it, maybe I should hire her to explain it for me, ha! I believe everyone has quirky habits and sides of themselves they don't want to share with anyone, but I also believe some people let a little bit of that out and then you get those sideways looks from people... the ones that whisper "what's wrong with her?" "Why is she acting so abnormally?". I want to scream at them, NORMAL?!? What the heck is normal? Who decides this and why do we as society suppress others to tone down this "quirky" "socially rejected" behavior??! I ask everyone to stand up tall, read Miranda July and unleash your quirky self (at least for a day). Should you read this book? I dunno, the better question is, will you unleash your inner thoughts willingly? ;)
P.S. - I think the style (or lack thereof) of the cover is her thing? The other book I bought of hers is a yellow cover with black writing.
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