the first bad man-miranda july

“But she couldn’t generate enough sadness and regret to free herself.” (258)

“Polite-the only thing worse than dull.” (96)

this one’s been getting a lot of play in the store’s orb. i decided to go with it tonight because a custo brought it up the minutes after another one who was thinking a lot of thoughts and feeling a lot of feelings about it last month left. we discussed the order in which one could/should read this book/watch the discussion vaguely about it at the reference library earlier this year. we did it in the opposite order and i saw the talk and was reminded to read the book. i suppose in a way, it was good that the talk was just an insider conversation between friends and not really a lot about the book so much as it was about the process and the life details of the author that could inform the process of the character in than non-auto/biographical way that all writers write.

“Anyone who questions what satisfaction can be gained from a not-so-bright girlfriend half one’s age has never had one. It just feels good all over. It’s like wearing something beautiful and eating something delicious at the same time, all the time.” (203-4)

“I sat on the toilet and looked at my thighs nostalgically. Soon they would be perpetually entwined in his thighs, never alone, not even when they wanted to be. But it couldn’t be helped. We had a good run, me and me. I imagined shooting an old dog, an old faithful dog, because that’s what I was to myself.” (44-5)

“When you live alone people are always thinking they can stay with you, when the opposite is true: who they should stay with is a person whose situation is already messed up by other people and so one more won’t matter.” (19)

as per usual, the relationships are very interesting and central to this story. sure, that’s true of a lot of stories, but that miranda july way of focusing on unfocused relationships is absolutely at play here, and the most interesting elephant in the room is the baby.

“It could only be a nightmare, someone growing inside you who you hoped never to see the face of.” (141)

“My heart jumped. It. I had forgotten about the baby. Until she had been giving birth to birth-to contractions and noises and liquids. There was someone in there.” (166)

“Like a horror movie, but he couldn’t even compare it to that because he knew nothing about the genre. Or about horror itself, fear. He couldn’t think, I’m scared-he didn’t even know I.” (171)

“His hand had a heat and weight that only real hands do. A hundred imaginary hands would never be this warm.” (47)

the mourning of that baby for a month and then mourning the mourning for another month, but not a third month-does that represent the kid not making it to the first trimester?


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