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Best Behavior Paperback – March 3, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Noah Cicero is the author of The Human War (Fugue State Press, 2003), The Condemned (Six Gallery Press, 2006), Burning Babies (Parlor Press, 2006), Treatise (A-Head Publishing, 2008), and The Insurgent (Blatt, 2010). Since its release, The Human War has become a favorite of the literary underground and is being adapted to film. BEST BEHAVIOR is his sixth novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Civil Coping Mechanisms (March 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984603778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984603770
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,378,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tony O. on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this book very quickly. I couldn't put it down.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my favorite Cicero book. It's not a 'multilayered extravaganza', nor is it a 'mosaic novel of different American cultures' or any of that crap that a book critic would ordinarily dream up. It's just solid writing that is Zen in its simplicity.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
See, here's the thing.

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.
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Format: Paperback
this is a very good book that is sad and funny and terrifying in the way that one can be terrified by the overwhelming absurdity of life. the youngstown scenes are bleak and heart-wrenching as only the decaying rust belt can be. when the main character travels to new york, cicero makes the two places seem like they're populated by two different species and he is there serving as an emissary. or maybe new york is some weird dream sequence, and youngstown is reality. as always, the best parts are the quick-paced quirky dialogue exchanges between the characters.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was entertaining and had thoughtful sections. It was easy to relate to and I feel it captures very well how people these days are. I really liked the discussion between characters. I read this book in spurts and it was nice to wind down at the end of the day reading this.
It's a good book you should buy it and read it.
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Format: Paperback
Best Behavior is a funny and intelligent novel about being a young American, struggling.

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.
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