I was half-way in the book, “The First Bad Man” by Miranda July and wanted to give it up. I did not want to read anymore. The book sort of did not speak to me nor did it interest me. Till I gave it time and turned the pages and suddenly I was taken in with it. There were times I laughed out loud and times when I cried and all of this happened in the second-half of the book. I am only too glad that I read it and not gave it up. Sometimes most books deserve a second chance I guess.
“The First Bad Man” by Miranda July is a book of almost everything, mostly parenthood and I will of course not tell you how or why. It is a book about loneliness, coping with life and dreams and disappointments and it is written in the style that is not sentimental or overwhelming, but actually funny in most places (the second-half, I mean). Cheryl Glickman is a character that brings comfort and at the same time some readers might hate her guts. The book is about her inner dialogue, about her connection with psychic babies (and this is just the beginning) and about her relationships and life. Also Cheryl has always wanted a child and never got on. She is alone and vulnerable to say the least.
Cheryl is obsessed with her co-worker Philip, she has a lump in her throat and she believes that there are many lifetimes which people can remember in this one. Amidst all this, Cheryl’s bosses ask her if their twenty-one year daughter Clee can move into her house and Cheryl’s life changes drastically from then on. This in short is the plot of the book.
The writing is quirky, it is weird, it will shock you (I was shocked in most places), it might even offend you, but it is worth it. Almost every single page (of the second-half at least). Miranda July’s first novel is satisfactory in so many ways. The characters are well-rounded and mostly have to do what they have to. There is no looking back or stepping out, whatever the circumstances. The writing is frank, emotional at times and sometimes extremely uncomfortable, but it will keep you thinking about the world we live in and what surrounds us.
“The First Bad Man” for some cannot be read in one sitting. For others, it can be. It is a book that needs to be savored and reread I think. All said and done, do not give up on it as I was going to. You will love the book. Turn the pages. Be patient with it.