I admit I picked up “The First Bad Man” by Miranda July because Lena Dunham gave it a great review, describing it as a kind of bible. The novel has been on numerous book lists, which deemed it as one of the top books to look out for last year. After reading it, I can see why.
Cheryl Glickman, an employee at a women’s self-defense nonprofit, lives alone and always has a lump in her throat. She has an obsession with Phillip, a board member of the company, and she believes they have been in love for many lifetimes.
When Glickman’s bosses ask her to house their 21-year-old daughter Clee, Glickman’s life is forever turned on its head. She is forced to see the world in a totally new way, either for better or for worse.
In the first half of the novel, July paints a picture, showing readers what Glickman’s world is like, as well as the people with whom she surrounds herself. During the second half, something occurs that has the power to throw everything off kilter. No part of this story is boring.
Everything that happens, whether big or small, makes readers care about every single one of the characters. You suddenly find yourself connecting with someone you never thought you would like, and it is a wonderful feeling knowing that July can change your feelings.
While “The First Bad Man” is quite an odd novel, it is also original and thought-provoking. At its core, there are feminist undertones that have the ability to alter the way we see society and its members, and the relationship between Glickman and Clee is one of my favorites in any story I have ever read.
July has written a work of art full of strange sexual fantasies, off-the-wall humor and prose that makes you question the intricate choices we make in life.
“The First Bad Man” is unlike any novel I have read before, and I would recommend it to anyone who has a weird sense of humor, believes in the true ideals of feminism or wants a new, crazy reading choice. Go into it with an open mind, and remember what you learned long after you have finished the book.