The First Bad Man by Miranda July

Oof. One of the best imaginations of our generation. Miranda July has a gift for expressing loneliness, and the desperation in searching for connection when your brain seems so singular.

Miranda July, it’s such a comfort that you make things. Thanks.

Excerpts from The First Bad Man:

She gave me a betrayed look, because she’s a working mom, feminism, etc. I gave her the same look back, because I’m a woman in a senior position, she’s taking advantage, feminism, etc. She bowed her head slightly.

Then I realized we all think we might be terrible people. But we only reveal this before we ask someone to love us. It is a kind of undressing.

He cleared his throat, then was silent. Maybe he wouldn’t say anything, which is the worst thing men do.

I flitted around the city, either turning heads or else walking by heads just as they were turning.

Sometimes I looked at her sleeping face, the living flesh of it, and was overwhelmed by how precarious it was to love a living thing. She could die simply from lack of water. It hardly seemed safer than falling in love with a plant.

It won’t make sense until you’ve read the book, but once you have, visit The First Bad Man store, with auction proceeds going to The National Partnership for Women and Families.

Also, old related post: Learning to Love You More, Assignment #9.

3 thoughts on “The First Bad Man by Miranda July

  1. Thank you so much for doing these. I teach high school English, and I want so much to show my students that reading is not only for school and then you can finally stop. I want to show them that the words can sing and tell us that we’re not alone. I want to show them that awesome people read for pleasure and want to have discussions about what they read. It’s good to know I’m not telling them lies. People (great people like you!) really do read, and it enriches them, and in turn they enrich others. It makes me glad inside, makes me feel like I have purpose. It also makes me feel like I have a new book to add to my “to read” list. 😀


  2. I’m an avid reader and I wanted so much to love this book. I pre-ordered and started reading the day it arrived. I made it halfway through before I gave up. While particular storylines were compelling, the overall theme was incongruent and frustrating. Hopes dashed.


  3. Krista, what a nice note! And teachers always have a purpose, especially ones who care so much about what they’re teaching.

    Corrin, I think I need a book club in my life. I’d love to hear more about what you found incongruent. I found the main character so consistent that the spell wasn’t broken a single time for me.

    The whole book was original for sure, but not in a studied way. So often a writer trying to do something fresh comes off as tap dancing, which makes me blanche. This book felt like the best of July’s work, leading with vulnerability, being brave enough to expose your own cowardice.

    I find that strength breathtaking in people, but particularly in artists and writers who bare themselves in public through their characters. In short, gah! So good.


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