Bad Behavior: Stories PDF EPUB - The Shocking and Provocative Debut by Mary Gaitskill
Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill: A Review of the Classic Short Story Collection
If you are looking for a book that will challenge your assumptions, shock your senses, and make you think deeply about human relationships, then you should read Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill. This debut collection of nine stories, first published in 1988, is a masterpiece of contemporary fiction that explores the dark and complex aspects of sexuality, power, alienation, morality, and judgment in modern society. In this article, I will review Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill and explain why it is a classic that deserves your attention.
bad behavior mary gaitskill epub 100
Who is Mary Gaitskill?
Mary Gaitskill is an American writer who was born in 1954 in Lexington, Kentucky. She grew up in a conservative family and had a troubled adolescence, running away from home at 16 and working as a stripper and prostitute in San Francisco and Detroit. She later attended the University of Michigan, where she studied literature and journalism. She began writing short stories in the early 1980s and published her first collection, Bad Behavior, in 1988. She has since written two more collections of stories, Because They Wanted To (1997) and Don't Cry (2009), and three novels, Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1991), Veronica (2005), and The Mare (2015). She has also written essays, reviews, memoirs, and criticism for various publications. She has received several awards and honors for her work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Faulkner Award nomination, a National Book Award nomination, and a Whiting Award.
What is Bad Behavior about?
Bad Behavior is a collection of nine stories that depict the lives of various characters in New York City in the 1980s. The stories are mostly set in the Lower East Side, a neighborhood known for its artistic, bohemian, and alternative culture. The characters are mostly young, educated, creative, and disillusioned people who struggle with their identities, relationships, careers, and desires. They engage in various forms of bad behavior, such as adultery, prostitution, drug abuse, sadomasochism, manipulation, betrayal, violence, and self-destruction. The stories are not linked by plot or theme, but by tone and style. They are realistic, minimalist, unsentimental, provocative, and often disturbing.
Why is Bad Behavior a classic?
Bad Behavior is a classic because it is a groundbreaking work of fiction that challenged the conventions and expectations of its time. It was one of the first books to portray the underground subcultures of New York City with honesty and insight. It was one of the first books to explore the complex and controversial issues of sexuality and power, especially from a female perspective. It was one of the first books to use a minimalist and realistic style that influenced many other writers. It was also one of the first books to receive critical acclaim and popular success, despite its controversial and unconventional content. Bad Behavior is a classic because it is a book that changed the landscape of American literature and culture.
The Themes of Bad Behavior
Sexuality and Power
One of the most prominent themes in Bad Behavior is sexuality and power. Gaitskill explores how sex is used as a means of expression, communication, domination, submission, escape, or destruction by her characters. She does not shy away from depicting the graphic and explicit details of sexual acts, such as oral sex, anal sex, bondage, spanking, whipping, biting, and choking. She also does not judge or moralize her characters' sexual choices, but rather shows them as complex and contradictory human beings who have their own reasons and motivations for their behavior. She shows how sex can be both empowering and disempowering, liberating and oppressive, pleasurable and painful, depending on the context and the relationship between the partners. She also shows how sex can be influenced by social factors, such as gender, class, race, age, and culture.
Alienation and Loneliness
Another theme in Bad Behavior is alienation and loneliness. Gaitskill portrays a generation of people who feel disconnected from themselves, from each other, and from society. Her characters are often isolated, unhappy, bored, restless, or dissatisfied with their lives. They have difficulty forming meaningful or lasting relationships with others. They are often cynical, sarcastic, or indifferent to the feelings of others. They are often self-absorbed, self-destructive, or self-loathing. They are often searching for something or someone to fill the void in their lives, but they rarely find it. They are often trapped in their own bad behavior patterns, unable to change or grow.
Morality and Judgment
A third theme in Bad Behavior is morality and judgment. Gaitskill challenges the conventional notions of right and wrong, good and bad, normal and abnormal in her stories. She does not present her characters as heroes or villains, but as flawed and complex human beings who have their own moral codes and values. She does not impose her own moral judgments on her characters or on the readers, but rather invites them to question their own assumptions and prejudices. She does not offer easy answers or solutions to the ethical dilemmas or conflicts that her characters face, but rather leaves them open-ended or ambiguous. She does not provide a clear moral message or lesson in her stories, but rather provokes thought and debate.
The Style of Bad Behavior
Minimalism and Realism
The style of Bad Behavior is characterized by minimalism and realism. Gaitskill uses a simple and direct language that avoids unnecessary embellishments or descriptions. She uses short sentences and paragraphs that create a fast-paced and rhythmic flow. She uses dialogue as a main tool of narration that reveals the characters' personalities, emotions, thoughts, and motivations. She uses realistic settings and situations that reflect the social and cultural context of her stories. She uses everyday details and objects that create a sense of authenticity and familiarity.
Dialogue and Characterization
The dialogue in Bad Behavior is one of the most distinctive features of Gaitskill's style. She has a remarkable ability to capture the nuances and subtleties of human speech in different situations and contexts. She uses dialogue to create tension, humor, irony, sarcasm, or emotion in her stories. She uses dialogue to show the contrasts or similarities between different characters or groups of characters. She uses dialogue to reveal the hidden meanings or intentions behind the words or actions of her characters. She uses dialogue to develop her characters' personalities, backgrounds, relationships, conflicts, desires, fears, hopes, dreams.
Humor and Irony
The Impact of Bad Behavior
Critical Reception and Awards
Bad Behavior received critical acclaim and popular success when it was first published in 1988. It was praised by critics for its originality, courage, intelligence, and skill. It was also criticized by some for its graphic, explicit, and controversial content. It was nominated for several awards, including the PEN/Hemingway Award for best first fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award for best fiction, and the National Book Award for best first novel. It was also included in several lists of the best books of the year or the decade by various publications and organizations.
Cultural Influence and Adaptations
Bad Behavior had a significant cultural influence and inspired many other writers, artists, and filmmakers. It was one of the first books to portray the underground subcultures of New York City in a realistic and nuanced way. It was one of the first books to explore the themes of sexuality and power from a female perspective. It was one of the first books to use a minimalist and realistic style that influenced many other writers. It was also one of the first books to be adapted into other media forms, such as film, theater, and television. The most famous adaptation is the 2002 film Secretary, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, which is based on the story of the same name.
Contemporary Relevance and Legacy
Bad Behavior remains relevant and influential today, more than three decades after its publication. It is still widely read and discussed by readers, critics, scholars, and students. It is still considered a classic and a landmark of contemporary fiction. It is still relevant to the current social and cultural issues and debates, such as gender, sexuality, power, consent, identity, morality, and judgment. It is still a source of inspiration and challenge for many writers, artists, and filmmakers. It is still a book that will make you think deeply about human behavior.
Summary of the main points
In conclusion, Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill is a classic short story collection that deserves your attention. It is a book that explores the dark and complex aspects of sexuality, power, alienation, morality, and judgment in modern society. It is a book that challenges the conventions and expectations of its time and of its readers. It is a book that uses a minimalist and realistic style that creates a powerful and engaging effect. It is a book that has received critical acclaim and popular success, as well as cultural influence and adaptations. It is a book that remains relevant and influential today.
Personal opinion and recommendation
I personally enjoyed reading Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill because it made me think deeply about human relationships and behavior. I liked how Gaitskill portrayed her characters as complex and contradictory human beings who have their own reasons and motivations for their actions. I liked how Gaitskill used dialogue as a main tool of narration that revealed the nuances and subtleties of human speech. I liked how Gaitskill used humor and irony to lighten the mood or tone of her stories. I also liked how Gaitskill challenged me to question my own assumptions and prejudices about sexuality, power, morality, and judgment.
I would recommend Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill to anyone who likes reading short stories that are realistic, minimalist, provocative, and disturbing. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes reading stories that deal with serious or dark topics such as sexuality, power, alienation, morality, and judgment. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes reading stories that challenge their conventions and expectations.
Call to action
If you are interested in reading Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill, you can download it in PDF or EPUB format from OceanofPDF. You can also borrow it from your local library or buy it from your favorite bookstore. You can also watch the film adaptation Secretary, which is available on various streaming platforms. You can also read more about Mary Gaitskill's life and work on her official website or on Wikipedia. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill:
What is the genre of Bad Behavior?
Bad Behavior is a collection of short stories that belong to the genre of contemporary fiction or literary fiction. It is also sometimes classified as transgressive fiction, which is a subgenre of fiction that focuses on characters who violate the norms or boundaries of society.
How many stories are in Bad Behavior?
Bad Behavior contains nine stories, which are: Daisy's Valentine, A Romantic Weekend, Something Nice, An Affair, Edited, Connection, Trying to Be, Secretary, Other Factors, and Heaven.
Which story in Bad Behavior is the most famous or popular?
The most famous or popular story in Bad Behavior is Secretary, which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2002. The film starred Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader and was directed by Steven Shainberg. The film was a critical and commercial success and received several awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe nomination for Gyllenhaal.
What is the main message or lesson of Bad Behavior?
Bad Behavior does not have a clear or explicit message or lesson, but rather provokes thought and debate among its readers. It invites its readers to question their own assumptions and prejudices about sexuality, power, morality, and judgment. It invites its readers to empathize with its characters and understand their reasons and motivations for their actions. It invites its readers to reflect on their own behavior and relationships.
Is Bad Behavior suitable for young readers?
Bad Behavior is not suitable for young readers, as it contains graphic and explicit descriptions of sexual acts, violence, drug abuse, and other forms of bad behavior. It also contains mature and complex themes and issues that may be difficult or inappropriate for young readers to understand or appreciate. It is recommended for adult readers who are interested in reading challenging and provocative stories.