A couple weeks ago, I saw Bad Behavior on Flavorwire’s What to Read While You’re Missing Your Favorite TV Shows. The list says you should read Revolutionary Road if you’re missing Mad Men, so I trusted it. Foolishly.
Here’s Flavorwire’s caption for Bad Behavior, which it suggests you read if you’re missing Girls: “Look, the girls of Girls wish they were the girls of Bad Behavior — who are twisted and confused and sexy and discontent in the most piercing and authentic of ways.” I immediately added it to my to-read list.
This weekend, I took a jaunt to Vegas for a bachelorette party. I needed something to read on the plane that wasn’t too brainy or deep, was a quick read, and was appropriate for the weekend. This short-story collection seemed to fit the bill. I mean, just look at the cover. It screams hot mess.
Based on the Flavorwire caption and my own personal biases as to what “bad behavior” is, I was thinking along the lines of this:
But you may have noticed that this book was published in 1988. Sooooo . . . harken back, if you will. “Bad behavior” in those days looked more like this:
It was a different era of bad.
Needless to say, I think my expectations were a little off. Bad behavior, at least in this collection, revolves mostly around:
- S & M
- Self-esteem issues
- Asshole dudes
Most importantly (and disappointingly) the bad behavior in this collection is not a fun variety of bad behavior. There is no schadenfreude involved in reading these stories. Instead, they just make you feel kind of sad. And icky. Who wants that?
Rating: As a collection, 1.5/5 👎
It seems like the stories were written for shock value. But it’s twenty-five years old. And maybe I’m a little jaded. So, it just wasn’t that shocking (or, frankly, engaging). Instead, it was just depressing. And boring. I almost didn’t finish it.
I rate the individual stories (as they appear in the collection) as follows:
“Daisy’s Valentine”: A depressing tale of love, cheating, and sad, damaged individuals. 1/5
“A Romantic Weekend”: A cheater’s weekend is a disappointment for all, due in large part to their creepy failed attempts at S & M. 1.5/5
“Something Nice”: The age-old tale of lonely married guy meets a prostitute and foolishly thinks they have a real connection. 1.5/5
“An Affair, Edited”: Guy sees a chick that he used to sleep with on the street and does some reminiscing. Oh, and p.s., he’s a prick. 1/5
“Connection”: Woman goes back to NYC to visit. She’s on the street and sees a bag lady who looks like an old friend whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years. 2/5
“Trying to Be”: Hooker meets john at a whorehouse. They have a connection. She quits hooking, but continues to see him. And he continues to pay her. 2.5/5
“Secretary”: This was made into a movie with my beloved James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2002 (remember?). It’s about a meek secretary who gets into a weird S & M sexual relationship with her lawyer boss. 3/5
“Other Factors”: Woman catches up with ex-fling, who invites her to a party. She knows an old friend, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years, will be there. 1.5/5
“Heaven”: A story of bad parenting. 2/5
Who Should Read It: No one. You’d be better off reading Perez Hilton or watching an episode of the Jersey Shore.