Book Reviews

The First Bad Man – Miranda July – Audible Book Review

The First Bad Man – Miranda July – Audible Book Review

Narrated by: Miranda July
Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins

If you haven’t discovered Miranda July yet, it really is about time. July is a polymath, a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. She has worked as a director, screenwriter, singer, actress and author. Her film Kajillionaire (2020) won plaudits from fans and critics alike. It tells the story of a woman whose parents work as petty criminals, using a variety of scams to get by. July wrote and directed the film and also has a number of other works for screen to her credit. Her first novel, The First Bad Man, was published in 2015.

The book focuses on Cheryl Glickman, a middle-aged woman that works for a company that sells self-defence/ workout videos. She is infatuated with one of the directors in her company, a man in his sixties by the name of Phillip. Much of the early part of the book focuses on her attempts to win his attention and also her rich fantasy life, as she dreams of their life together. She lives alone in a small house and is very much set in her ways. That is until the arrival of Clee into her world. Clee is the 19-year-old daughter of two of the directors in her workplace. Clee is foisted upon Cheryl and is supposed to stay for a short period until she finds a job and gets set up in the city, but when that period starts to sprawl, it infringes on Cheryl’s world.

While the book is well written, the main points of interest are the many observations that are regularly dropped. The book has a rich tapestry, exploring some interesting ideas and concepts, such as adult games and motherhood. It talks at length about Kubelko Bondy, the spirit of a child she sees in other people’s children. These children talk directly to her in an almost telepathic fashion. Along with the many bizarre concepts, there is much humour and insight into modern life. It’s a fascinating work that feels experimental and constantly entertaining. The book is narrated by July herself, and while it is often a worry when an author voices her own creation, she seems to embody the various characters with ease.

Categories: Book Reviews, Books, Header

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