Cheryl lives alone with a perpetual lump in her throat, haunted by a baby boy she met when she was little. She is also desperately in love with Philip, a board member of the women's self-defense organisation she works for.
The First Bad Man begins with what we expect of Miranda July: a delightful helping of anxiety, awkward humour, quirkiness, loneliness and tenderness, all of which is familiar from her previous books and films. But suddenly, when we think we know what's in store, the story sends us flying, its later chapters rolling in with unexpected emotional clout. The First Bad Man is a humanist and contemporary adventure of gender, sexuality, motherhood and love. I feel like Miranda July grew up, and her readers will probably do the same.
You can also check out some rave reviews at the A.V. Club and Slate.