Review: The First Bad Man A Novel by Miranda July


I had been wanting to read this for awhile. The cover is so austere, especially among the other books we’ve been displaying;  it had always intrigued me. It’s an old(ish) book now, it was released last year, to a lot of positive reviews, and a few criticisms. It wasn’t until I attended Miranda July’s one woman show (advertised as part lecture and part performance) that I felt I was prepared to read this book. Having heard her talk, heard her own stories, and having a signed copy (having looked deep into her eyes), I finally felt ready to read it.

I wasn’t disappointed; the book was strange and made me feel unsettled in a really enjoyable way. I found myself sometimes confused when I lost my way among the protagonists inner thoughts and fantasies. I was gripped to the page for chapters at a time.

I think there’s also a little piece of me that understood and recognized in myself parts of the protagonists reasoning and concerns.

It’s definitely not for everyone, ‘weird’ is a term that feels pejorative, but I employ here to differentiate it from so much of the contemporary literature. It is so unusual and that’s what is delightful –  it makes a wonderful change from the traditional narrative.


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