'The First Bad Man' by Miranda July

Monday 15 May 2017

I purchased 'The First Bad Man' before i’d even read a word about it. After reading July’s ‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’ (post here) I couldn’t wait to see how Miranda July’s short stories could develop and take on the format of a novel.

A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man

Cheryl Glickman, the unreliable narrator is aware of her own null existence, keeping her own life to minimum and rarely making a mark with a penchant of her cleaning system.  Cheryl opens up her home to the daughter of the founders of the company she works for. And as their daughter Clee upheaves Cheryl’s life, Cheryl becomes obsessed with Clee and everything about her.  

I aimed to write this without falling into the plot too much but what I loved about ‘The First Bad Man’ is its inner focus in the workings of life. The plot is all consuming as if it were your own and I when I finished the novel I was left to process that it was no longer that. It became stuck inside my mind, in patterns Cheryl had created.

A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man

Clee may have interrupted Cheryl’s life but it is her narration that interrupts and unravels, revealing her obsessive behaviour in herself and others. But without a bad man, the title fills a sweeping reference or what it seems to the aggressive role playing that takes up Cheryl and Clee’s relationship.

There is not a single character in the book that appeared ‘normal’ which I loved, July captured that there actually isn’t a truly ‘normal’ person.  A hyper take on a reality that we all have flaws in us. The way Miranda July brought all these observations together became so familiar but disturbing in transparency.   

A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man

'The First Bad Man' brought together all the sad emptiness of mediocre life and by no means have I even begun to touch on the surface of this book or its subplots. But if you are a fan of July’s other work i’d love to know what you think of the transition to novel. 

“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?” 

A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man

Buy it here:The First Bad Man 

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