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Best Behavior Paperback – March 3, 2011
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
In Best Behavior, a young man from a poor city visits NYC to do some things. He goes to parties, drinks, eats fried chicken, has sex, and feels alienated.
I like the way Noah Cicero writes. I recommend reading Best Behavior, as well as his first book, The Human War.
We see many different facets of American behavior, each one equally as stunning as the next in its own way. We have Amanda crying as she writes checks to pay the bills. Fresh from earning a Masters Degree, she has emerged as a force in the white collar class, and the epiphany of her newfound responsibilities is enough to intimidate her as she realizes she grew up around mostly blue collar influence.
Then we have the old lady on the bus as Benny Baradat travels to New York for a photoshoot/interview feature for a popular alternative magazine. She regales Benny with stories of how picaresque and ideal her life once was until her husband, the love of her life died and she and her daughters 'dropped out' to do drugs to ease their pain. She's so sex starved that out of sympathy, Benny offers to finger her on the bus. The beautiful thing is that he follows through on his promise, despite the fact that he's not remotely attracted to her. A sad old woman and a sad young man, connecting through pleasureless sex is such an alien panacea for sorrow, but it works beautifully on the page.
There's The Big Smooth, a man with a taste for whiskey and a temper to match who has plenty to go around in both the height and weight department, but whom everyone loves, like one of those 'characters around town' which we've all known at one time or another.Read more ›
I really, really wanted to like this book. Given the author's literary background and the description of the book alone, I thought that this would be my kind of story. So I bought it. And I wish I hadn't.
Right from the get go, we are met with just boredom. The narrator just has no style to his words, no flair to his prose. We're just given a hum-ho perspective on his boring life, on his troubles and trials, on his thoughts of love and work. Anecdotes about friends and acquaintances are either too long-winded or have very little point overall. No anger. No hatred. Just dull.
Some of the remarks themselves were just wince-worthy upon reading them. I will give two examples (POSSIBLE SPOILERS):
p.25 - "She didn't feel like giving anyone her money. But she rationalized electricity and heat are important things and must be maintained to live a good life. (Yeah, duh.)
p. 66 - "Then she hit me in the d*ck. I bent over and held my d*ck. 'You punched me in the d*ck'". (Do we really need it said three times in a row? We get it.)
There's not a lot to get excited about. This was just a gigantic disappointment. I'm aware that other reviews of this book shower it with praise, but I can't see where any of it is coming from. I like my literature with edge, with bite. This had barely a nibble. On the back, the description of Best Behavior reads - "this is the literature of pain..." Yeah, definitely. Painful to read, and painful to live through.
this is one of my favorite noah cicero books. my other favorite is burning babies. noah cicero writes awesome books with aliterated B titles. if noah cicero ever writes a book called "brazen brash brawny bisons bickering badly" it would be so awesome, the planet would crack in half.
It's a good book you should buy it and read it.
I loved reading the book and felt moved and alert at the end. I nearly cried a lot of times, which is unusual for me. I found the warmth and tenderness that the main character feels toward nearly all of the other characters very endearing. I found his tolerance and empathy to be exemplary.
All that I really want to say in this review is that the novel is worth your money, and is worth your time. It is better, I think, than most other books that most people will read this year, depending on taste and number of books read.
Noah Cicero seems to understand human beings.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For a book concerned with disconnection and living daily in a world that seems to have had the life drained out of it, Cicero brings out some surprisingly beautiful moments. Read morePublished on September 21, 2013 by D. S. Atkinson
Best Behavior is an interesting, intelligent, and frequently hilarious novel written from the perspective of a writer from Ohio. Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by Jordan Castro
this book had an extraordinary influence on my writing, both in form and style. can't recommend it enough. read noah's books. he's the real thingPublished on May 14, 2012 by spencer madsen
Noah Cicero knows how to write a book. I think he will write 20 more books like this, if not more. Well, not exactly like Best Behavior, but 20 more books that speak to me and... Read morePublished on July 28, 2011 by Bridget
i read this book in like three days. it is one of those books. i don't really know why i enjoyed reading it but it was always something i wanted to do. Read morePublished on April 19, 2011 by taylor
Cicero is taking it to a new level with Best Behavior. If you love Cicero, then you'll love this book. This book is ALIVE.Published on April 13, 2011 by Becky McMillion
I like Best Behavior because it is the first novel where Noah opens up his style. While I have always liked Noah's books, it was exciting to see him tackle new ground... Read morePublished on April 12, 2011 by andrew worthington