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The First Bad Man (2015)

by Miranda July

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7894223,125 (3.53)25
"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 nonprofit 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 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"--… (more)
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English (40)  French (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Still not sure what I have just read. This book did not speak to me they way it clearly does to other people. ( )
  hipney | May 31, 2022 |
"An American love story for our time." Cheryl is a weird and pathetic middle-aged woman but I loved her. She and all of her grotesque neuroses were the only constant characters throughout the book, and they made the book so lovable, so engaging, so freakishly compelling. The book had so many little points where I had to snicker -- some of the things Cheryl thinks, does, says, becomes are so outlandish (or perhaps just outlandish enough) to make this a true comedy. I think I felt so drawn to Cheryl because of the way she sees life -- she knows life, she has developed a real ideology of life, and whether or not I agreed with it, I wanted to stick along to understand it. And in the end, the ideology transforms, grows -- the patient becomes the psychologist, the lover becomes the mother. This feels like a true meditation on someone getting out of the daily grind of life and its oppressiveness because, in the end, it was about much more than that: It was about a woman who finds out why she exists in the world.

Perhaps the book tried to fit too many things happening at once. There is Phillip, then there's Clee, then there are more things -- and truly, the last page and the first page did not feel like they belonged in the same book. There were many lifetimes lived in between, many transformations, that perhaps moved too fast, too unfathomably. But overall, I liked it a lot. Cheryl was a great person to hang out with for these past few days. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
I'm a big fan of Miranda July. I recommend listening to the audiobook to hear her read this. I found this book hilarious and found her crazy weirdness refreshing. The parts of the book that I loved, I really loved. Not for the easily offended. ( )
  -Pia- | Sep 3, 2021 |
Resulta que la más patética de las protagonistas femeninas de libros hipster en este siglo XXI es la única capaz de sacar su vida adelante y mejorar la de los demás. Un libro triste a pesar del sentido del humor de July. ( )
  Orellana_Souto | Jul 27, 2021 |
This book comes with a massive burden of hype, from the breathless jacket copy to the rave reviews on the back. There are very few books that can live up to a "best book you'll ever read" level of hype and unsurprisingly this one doesn't, either. It's not entirely fair to Miranda July that I had to work against inflated expectations because this is a good book; it just didn't change my life. The problem is that contrary to the jacket copy, it isn't terribly daring or audacious or unique. It's not shocking, though it tries to be. It's well written; the language has verve and the descriptions are accurate and witty, but the targets are predictable. Chromotherapy, Western cultural appropriation, home birth, pretending to be a nonprofit. About the only false note was the narrator doing her shopping in Ralphs. Instead of feeling like a knowing satire, a joke shared between author and audience, it felt stale. The sex tried too hard to be shocking--though again this is a problem of expectations; if you tell the reader it's going to be dirty, the reader is only going to be disappointed it wasn't as dirty as she thought it would be.

If you're going to read this book, which isn't a bad idea, don't read any reviews or jacket copy. You'll probably enjoy it more. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Cheryl Glickman, the narrator of Miranda July’s strenuously quirky first novel, is a peculiar woman of peculiar habits who works at a business with peculiar customs. So it comes as little surprise when she finds herself saddled with a house guest who is also rather odd. Eccentricities, as uncountable as the sands of the Sahara, drift and blow through this book, piling up in dunes that must be scaled by characters and readers alike.
 
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For Michael Chadbourne Mills
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I drove to the doctor's office as if I was starring in a movie Phillip was watching-windows done, just one hand on the wheel.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"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 nonprofit 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 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"--

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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 woman'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 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 obsession and fierce maternal love. (ARC)
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