Read Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner Online


Looking For Mr. Goodbar, By Judith RossnerPaperback book published by Pocket Books, April, 1976...

Title : Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780671804091
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Looking for Mr. Goodbar Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-05-20 11:27

    ”To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1Professor Martin Engle broke off his four year affair with his student Theresa Dunn by quoting Ecclesiastes to her. Like a lion circling a herd of gazelles probing for the weakest member he had decided she was the right one to sustain his ego. She was just coming out of her ugly duckling stage and emerging from the shadows cast by the wings of her swan like sister. She is self conscious of her body. A polio incident as a child left her with a slight sway which men will later think is sexy. She has a scar running down her back from a surgery to repair damage done to her spine by the disease. She had to be in the hospital for over a year strapped into a series of casts and back braces to insure she could continue to walk. She was tailor made for Martin Engle. When he hires her as his “writing assistant” the only writing was the scribbling on the wall. He notices the slight bobble in her walk and asks her about it which exposures all her insecurities wiping away in a matter of seconds her new vision of herself. ”I’m not attempting to seduce you.” he said. “I am attempting to comfort you because I see that I’ve hurt you.”An excuse to touch her more like it. She gave him a reply that must have made his heart sing knowing that he’d sunk his teeth into his prey. ”But I’d rather be seduced then comforted.”Another kink to their “relationship” is that his work space is next to the office where his wife works as a pediatrician. When they make love have sex it is on a daybed right against the wall separating the two rooms. The recklessness of potentially being caught had to heighten his enjoyment. The fact that Theresa would rather be seduced than comforted also shows her need to be normal. Being seen as a sexual being gets her further away from the image of that little girl in the hospital bed. Martin was an adult that didn’t have to be a parent. It is all part of the seduction package that makes him more charming to these young girls. ”One of the reasons she loved him was that she’d understood since she first heard him talk that all those sly or hostile or outrageous thoughts that had cropped up in her mind for years and remained unsaid because they would shock or upset or alienate the people she knew would be perfectly alright with him.”Martin’s charm does have more than a few cracks in the veneer.”Theresa has asked him after sex why he was angry with her, he’d said he always disliked women after fucking them. She’d blanched because she had never thought of what they did as just fucking.”To a mature self-confident woman a statement like that would have insured Martin an ass kicking to the curb, but then Martin doesn’t like women capable of doing that. He likes girls. He is truly a monster. A man, a succubus, who steals away their innocence and then trades them for another hatchling. They each have a season it seems. The reason I’ve spent so much of this review writing about Theresa’s first relationship is that I believe this is THE turning moment in her life. The cavalier way that Martin has sex with her advances her well beyond her years. As part of the seduction he made her feel special and encouraged her to be a writer, but then in an act of betrayal that dismisses his kind words he showed her that he valued her most for the pleasure she could give him. The very pleasure that he could then hate her for because, after all, it isn’t his fault that he is this way. Martin Engle did not bash her with the lamp that ended her life, but the lingering results of his actions did put her in that bed with that stranger. This book is loosely based on the actual case of Roseann Quinn, a Catholic school teacher who picked up men in New York bars. Unfortunately this reckless behavior resulted in her murder on New Year’s day in 1973. The seemingly nice girl in the wrong place meeting a nightmare. When Theresa starts picking up men in bars she sometimes reveals to them that she is a school teacher. This is shocking to the men. They didn’t expect to meet a school teacher in a bar and certainly didn’t expect to meet one that wanted to have sex with them. Diane Keaton plays Theresa Dunn in the movie based on the book.Theresa starts to panic when she meets James Morrisey. James isn’t interested in taking advantage of her sexually. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t find her attractive. Things would be simpler for Theresa if he was the kind of guy who wanted a quick tumble in the hay. He is a romantic. He is successful. He screams mortgage, six kids, and a white picket fence. (These are bad things, another leftover twist from her time with Martin.) She treats James like crap as if she is trying to save herself from the responsibilities and expectations that being involved with a guy like James entails. ”Aha Theresa, “ He said. “You’re so cruel to me. Why?” Because you like me too much, was what came into her head. But of course that was ridiculous. It wasn’t that simple.Yes it is. The rose tinted glasses rest lightly on James’s face. He has spun a vision of Theresa out of fine gold and white lace that she does not want to be. How stupid can he be to love a woman like her? Unfortunately she can’t even like herself enough to allow someone to love her. Theresa’s final pick-up at the Mr. Goodbar is, in my mind, a last desperate attempt to escape the encircling sensibility of a life with James. It works.This book is famous for it’s sex scenes. They are so deftly woven into the plot that the sensationalism of them is somewhat offset by the psychological elements that Judith Rossner explores in the process. This book has been called a feminist book which I wonder if that would even be a part of the discussion if Judith Rossner had been Jeffrey Rossner? There are breadcrumbs…”Why is it,” she asked, “that if you ask a woman how she is, the first thing she tells you is about her husband or boyfriend?”...but I never found the loaf. The book was too commercially successful to ever be looked on as literature, but if Rossner was still alive and giving a lecture on writing I’d be there...with bells on...a fresh notebook before me, and a finely honed pencil in my hand. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Julie Ehlers
    2019-05-06 08:35

    Aaaaaaaaaaagh.::Shudder::I'm a little conflicted. I'll be back.______________________________________Okay, I’m back.Looking for Mr. Goodbar is a tough book to review. It gives away nothing to say it’s based on the real-life murder of Roseann Quinn, and this element makes it difficult to view the novel purely as a novel.That’s unfortunate, because as a novel this book really, really works. It’s a bit dated, of course—that’s inevitable. But the language is simple and compelling, the characters are vivid, and the story is absorbing. I had trouble putting it down. What I particularly liked about it is that, while the female protagonist struggles mightily to resist the kind of life she feels is expected of her, she’s not some paragon of feminist virtue. She’s flawed, like all of us. That’s what I like to read about: flaws. Paragons of virtue are boring. And that ending! Even though I knew exactly what was coming, down to the dialogue (Rossner makes sure of that, in what I felt was a virtuoso touch), I was still on the edge of my seat and completely discombobulated, momentarily devastated, by the time I got to the last sentence. So would I recommend this novel? Yes, I would, absolutely.But there was something about this book that nagged at me: its reviews. Even though I have a current edition of the book, the reviews on the cover are all contemporaneous to its release, and one of them, from People, particularly bothered me: “A vivid psychobiography of a young woman who has confused the lonely, uncommitted life of singles’ bars and one-night stands with real freedom and control of her destiny.”On the one hand, yes, the book is about that. On the other hand, something about the judgmental tone of this quote didn’t sit well with me. Yes, this character tends to pick up men in bars. And yes (again, this is not a spoiler), the last man she picks up turns out to be unhinged and violent. But to me, focusing on her supposed “confusion” and “loneliness” (neither of which is unequivocal in the novel itself) kind of implies that being murdered is the logical end result of an “uncommitted” (read: promiscuous) life, and of course that’s not true. If Roseann Quinn had just picked up a different man that night, she’d be no less “uncommitted,” but she might still be alive today. Promiscuity is not a crime punishable by violent death.However, a glance at the Goodreads reviews told me not everyone agrees with me about this. A number of reviewers seem to believe that being murdered is just sort of what ends up happening if you sleep with several different men. What’s more, in Judith Rossner’s obituary I found this 1990 Guardian quote: “Some of the raunchiest sex scenes ever written* lead to a despair that makes death almost inevitable, perhaps even sought.” And the Wikipedia entry for the book explains that it “became a bestseller, attracting interest because of its portrayal of the dangers of the new sexual freedoms that women were exploring.”All of this made me a little crazy. Sex doesn’t cause a woman to be stabbed to death. Another person picking up a knife and stabbing her to death, that’s what causes a woman to be stabbed to death. How anyone could get anything else from this book is beyond me. But then I started wondering about Judith Rossner’s own motives for writing this. Why ask: “Why does this woman sleep with these various people?” rather than “Why did this guy stab someone he just had sex with?”I turned to Rossner’s obituary again and read this quote she gave to The Washington Post: “It’s astonishing what some women will put up with just to have a warm body—some of the brightest women I know are obsessed with that search. It’s very sad.”All right then. I understand that. And that brings me back around to what this book is really about: a complicated, troubled woman, and an exploration of what made her that way and how it plays out in her life. Even if it doesn’t send you into the kind of rabbit hole it sent me into, don’t be surprised if it haunts you.*Uh, “some of the raunchiest sex scenes ever written”? Only if you’ve never read a book before.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-02 08:31

    This book was written in 1975 so it's a bit dated but it holds up really well. It's based on a true story and I believe at one time there was a movie or a made for tv series about it so I knew the gist of the story but had never read the book. Theresa Dunn is a beloved school teacher who loves her job but want no children of her own. She is very anti-marriage and not really capable of having relationships. She has a TON of personal baggage. To blow off steam she goes to bars and picks up men. Usually these are one night stands but occasionally they last a few months. Then one of her friends introduces her to James. James is a "goody-goody" and he falls madly in love with Theresa.As Theresa's life starts to spin out of control she meets the wrong man on the wrong night at the wrong bar.This is a harrowing story of a woman desperately trying to find herself in a time when everything was changing for women. Theresa is a deeply flawed character that I really didn't like but absolutely could relate to. I didn't like her not because of her sleeping around but because of the way she treated James and to some extent her family.I really liked this book (I couldn't put it down) but I had one huge issue which actually isn't really the books problem. If you read the reviews that came out at the time the book was published there is a lot of victim blaming going on and I hate that!!

  • Eve
    2019-05-24 07:29

    What I remember most about this book is how much it made me blush, and made my ears turn beet red. This would have been no issue, except for the fact that I spent the week reading it on my commute to work on a busy train. Each day that week I took for granted that my fellow commuters hadn't either (a)read the book or (b) watched the 70s film starring Diane Keaton. Ugh! Boy was I wrong. On one of the last days that week, after I'd nearly missed my stop with the last 23 pages hanging in the balance, a lady turned to me and said smilingly: "Mmhmmm, that's a good one. Read it in college." And then she had the audacity to wink at me! The nerve!

  • Ted
    2019-05-22 07:36

    This isn't a review. It's personal history, and a reflection on memoryA couple days ago I finished reading Jean Rhys' Good Morning Midnight. As I read the last few pages I had vague flashbacks to this book.Luckily those flashbacks did not dovetail with Rhys' ending.But I couldn't think of the name of this novel. Nor could I remember when exactly the flashbacks dated to. There was a visual among them, I was standing in our basement (where all our books were for several years). I was holding a book in my hand.After finishing Good Morning I wasted at least an hour trying to come up with the name of the mystery book. Explored lists of popular fiction for every year from about 1978 to almost 2000. Nothing. (Certainly would have found it had I gone back to 1975, sort of the end of the free-love hippie era.)Oh well. Then yesterday as I walked, thinking about Rhys' book again, brought back the flashbacks, or maybe just the memory of having them the previous evening. And suddenly, there it was in my mind. Four words:LookingForMisterGoodbarHow many neurons are involved in bringing together four specific words, in a certain order, with other uncomfortable feelings and memories, with a visual component - the whole package almost certainly not present to my consciousness since all those connecting synapses were charged together - oh, probably at least thirty years ago?And why then, as I walked? Why not the night before, when I was so desperately desiring their appearance?Reflecting now on these memories, I can't imagine how I came to have the book. Also I rather doubt that I actually read the book, though I could have. About the only thing I'm sure about is that I did read the last few pages, and found them so disturbing that I decided I didn't want the book around any more. That's pretty much where it all ends. I suppose I slipped it into the trash.There's a good review of the book here: In it, I learned that Goodbar was based on an actual murder that occurred in New York, of a teacher who was adventuring into the unstable world of casual sex with strangers. She found what she was looking for - until that last time, when she found what she wasn't looking for.

  • Megan
    2019-05-02 06:29

    I wish I could find a few reviews of this book from when it was originally published. I am sure that by not living through the women's lib movement & the sexual revolution, I am missing something from this book. However, as a person who grew up in the 80's, this book dooesn't strike me as a "precautionary tale." Rather, I really, really dislike Theresa Dunn. This is a woman who rarely speaks up for herself & always lets others make her decisions for her. Then, she becomes upset when her experiences don't live up to her expectations. Well....duh! Again, perhaps if I had lived during the period this novel takes place, I would have a better appreciation and understanding for Theresa's reluctance to assert her opinions and feelings. Theresa is dissatisfied with everyone in her life and she is incapable of forming a true friendship with either a man or a woman. Clearly, Theresa is a hot mess. Rossner does a good job of offering an explaination through Theresa's early childhood sickness, her family role and her twisted relationship with Martin Engle. Nonetheless, I just can't bring myself to like her. Don't get me wrong ~ I am rooting for her throughout the book and hoping she will change her ways. But I don't think she would have, even if she wasn't murdered.

  • Evan
    2019-05-23 04:29

    "Talking was so much more complicated than making love...fucking, she should call it, since it was hard to see how anything she did with him could be about love. To talk with people you had to ignore the way you felt and speak from the front of your face...or else go through the effort of distilling those feelings into something that made some kind of sense, was acceptable in some way. That was what words did, really, make some kind of order out of the dark jumble of feelings and perceptions and nightmares inside you. And there was no way to do that in this situation. No way to explain in an orderly fashion how, without being drunk, stoned or out of her mind, she was having the most incredible sexual pleasure of her life with someone who at best amused her, and at worst frightened her half to death."(page 167, "Looking for Mr. Goodbar")-------To say this is a cautionary tale about the seedy side of the singles bar scene in the '60s-'70s would be simplistic, on several levels. It's certainly not a book just about a seemingly "nice" schoolteacher by day who's a coldhearted one-night-stand fuck by night. It attempts to be the story of a life, and in that it's limited. I think I might have liked a few pages here and there about her working in her classroom with her kids, just to fill things out a little and lend balance. I think the famously disturbing Richard Brooks 1977 movie adaptation starring Diane Keaton attempted this, and in true Hollywood fashion turned the contrast into a bludgeon by making her a teacher of special ed students. At least they didn't outfit her in a nun's habit.[Addendum: I have to make an insertion here after the fact. In truth, Brooks did appropriate, it seems, from this novel and from the actual case on which it was based. The real-life teacher DID work with special-ed kids. A book detailing the true case: "Closing Time: The True Story of the 'Goodbar' Murder" elaborates this. I plan to read this soon.)------some preliminary thoughts:The book is ambivalent about the emergence of the free-sex era. Rossner clearly realizes and indicates that the era of repression was wrong and unnatural and yet one is disturbed by the bleakness of the noncommittal bed-hopping lifestyle as presented. The complicated portrait of her protagonist, Theresa, makes these feelings even more unsettling and harder to pinpoint. That things aren't clear-cut is to its credit. There's a lot to think about in this book. I'm enjoying the hell out of this. I'm giving it four stars for being a great read and an extra star for NOT being on all those lists of literary classics you SHOULD read. I'm learning to take those with a grain of salt; this has more feeling and reality and gravitas than shit like "One Hundred Years of Solitude."FINAL THOUGHTS:I kept finding choice passages I wanted to mark and highlight here, and so many thoughts - often conflicting - racing through my mind as I read this, but it was such a compelling read I didn't want to put it down and cut the flow. So, interestingly, I found myself playing mental ping pong about Theresa and about James. I hated the way she treated him, but then his sickeningly goody two-shoes manner and acceptance of her abuse made me pissed at him. I was feeling almost like her. In this way, I think Rossner gives her protagonist a bit of an out. That, and all the issues of deprivation as a child. I sometimes wonder if it's possible for a character to be "bad" just because she/he is, and not because of childhood traumas. But, in any case, Rossner did a fine job of crafting a believable character study. By the end, as I read this on the bus, I got chills throughout my body and had to wipe away tears. I know people saw me. Geez, I felt a little like wimpy James. This was a great read, an underrated, maligned book.

  • Theresa
    2019-04-27 07:17

    Wow!!! Enough said.

  • Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
    2019-05-17 10:09

    For a while I had a hard time picking up this book. The beginning was difficult for me to get through, but once the story got rolling it was pretty interesting. There was even some surprisingly lovely writing. Although the ending was quite abrupt, I suppose that's understandable given what happens.

  • Cori
    2019-04-24 04:10

    I saw the movie, starring Diane Keaton long ago and it stuck with me. The book was just as dark and dreary. Is it a 1970's statement about what happens to a reluctant feminist? Or is it simply the story of one confused woman. I think it can be read either way.

  • Stephy
    2019-05-05 07:10

    I learned that even really badly written books on nasty subjects can make the best seller lists and stay there a long time. Many people have the judgment of turnips.

  • El
    2019-05-08 08:13

    This is one of those books, like Valley of the Dolls or Peyton Place, that you know better but you just can not stop reading it. You can feel your brain softening and your eyes and personality growing dull and you feel like you're being naughty because most of the story is really quite simply just about sex.Written in 1975, just a few years after the beginning of the sexual revolution, and chock full of women's lib ideology, schoolteacher Theresa Dunn is the woman out searching not for love but for pure, unadulterated sex. Mr. Goodbar is the bar she frequents most often. The story begins at the end, so right off the bad the reader knows exactly what is going to happen to Theresa, so in that sense it perhaps poses as a cautionary tale of what happens when "free love" goes wrong. Still, even with knowing Theresa's outcome it's impossible to turn away even in this day and age where we're all just a little more callused to the whole sex-in-literature thing. It's not that it's shocking in a VC Andrews sort of way (that shit is raw!), it's just a "Wow, I can't believe I'm still reading this!" kind of thing.To illustrate just how addictive the story is, on more than one occasion I caught the person sitting next to me on the bus surreptitiously reading along with me. A couple even blushed when I looked at them.Also, amusingly, on the back cover The Wall Street Journal was blurbed as saying, "Looking for Mr. Goodbar makes us care... because we know there are Theresa Dunns in our lives, in our office."It made me think about my own office and wonder who the Theresa Dunn in my office is. And now I just feel dirty.

  • Ronald Wise
    2019-05-11 10:34

    I first read this book when it was a paperback best-seller in 1976 and I was 21. It packed a real punch then, but this time it whacked me in an entirely different way. In a cultural and technological sense this book has become somewhat dated, but the big difference in my reaction has more to do with the water that has passed under my bridge in the meantime.For readers who have not experienced the hopes and frustrations of the nightlife pick-up scene, it might seem that this is the story of an unfortunate encounter between two messed up people, which results in one’s death and the other’s prosecution for murder – as we learn at the outset of this book. That is how I recall experiencing this novel in my youth, plowing through it with a morbid fascination as to how developments led to that fateful event. (Nearing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, then, may have also lent to a clinical tendency to my reaction, seeing it as a good case study.)After 35 years and some related personal experiences, I reread Looking for Mr. Goodbar with a profound appreciation for Rossner’s accute sense of a social phenomenon that seems just as, if not more, pervasive today in America’s urban culture. Single individuals suffering from loneliness and a sense of meaninglessness – even though surrounded by people and gainfully employed – and always aware that conveniently located are places where the like-minded gather, drinking for social lubrication and courage, and hoping that a chance encounter will fix things – that they’ll “get lucky”, an expression I heard for the first time not long after first reading this book.The first couple pages of this book reveal the final fate for Theresa Dunn. This time, however, I got so caught up in empathizing with her inner struggles – the shoulds vs. coulds of her options – that I was actually surprised when it all suddenly became a moot issue.

  • Virgilio Machado
    2019-04-27 05:20

    Judith Rossner has impeccable literary credentials. [...] Looking for Mr. Goodbar is so good a read, so stunningly commercial as a novel, that it runs the risk of being consigned to artistic oblivion. That would be a mistake. The sureness of Judith Rossner's writing and her almost flawless sense of timing create a complex and chilling portrait of a woman's descent into hell that gives this book considerable literary merit. dismal tale is told in the context of the destructive and joyless hedonism of New York in the 1960’s and epitomized by the dialogue, which is studded with four-letter words. Rossner is ambivalent, however, about the extent to which blame should be placed on the sexually liberated schoolteacher or her brutal pickup. The author is more interested in portraying the particulars of a time and place and in raising questions than she is about providing answers.

  • Erin Biegel
    2019-04-25 07:34

    While "like" or "love" may not be the correct verbs to describe my feelings about this book, I will say that it was so powerful that it left me in kind of a stupor for almost a week after I finished it. I then passed it on to my boyfriend, who had the same reaction. It's so deeply psychological, it manages to bore into your unsuspecting mind and emotions, and once it's there, it's hard to shake.

  • ♥ Marlene♥
    2019-05-15 09:30

    One of my favourite books and I want to read again. Going to see if I can find it on my shelves.

  • Dave
    2019-04-29 12:26

    One Stranger Too ManyLooking For Mr. Goodbar was a huge hit as both a novel and a movie, becoming part of the cultural signposts of the Seventies. The novel, which came first, was based loosely on a true story of a young woman in swinging Seventies Manhattan who took home one stranger too many from a pick- up bar and didn’t survive the night to tell about. It was a shocking story for mainstream literature, particularly the lurid sexual details. But it was more than just a shock value tale. It is a story told on more than level. On one level, it is an intimate psychological portrait of a Desperate, lonely young woman, Theresa, beginning with her suffering from polio as a child and scoliosis or curvature of the spine, leading to a year of hospitalization as she became 12, and growing up feeling like an ugly duckling compared to her striking sister. As she enters college, she is seduced by and becomes the temporary mistress of one of her professors till she graduates and is cast aside in favor of the new girl. Success escapes her even when she becomes a teacher as she spends her evenings in singles bars picking up guy after guy, with no one ever able to fill her emptiness. Her tragedy is not a secret and is telegraphed early on as she spins almost headlong out of control, calling in sick day after day to spend days in hotel rooms in her secret life with strangers. And, ultimately, becoming hard and harsh rather than soft and innocent.On another level, the novel is not just about Theresa, but an indictment of a loose empty soulless life. It’s not just Theresa’s life that is painted but her older sister who has multiple boyfriends, open marriages, etc. This book was a hit because of the timing of its release and the harsh light it cast on where the sexual revolution had taken some, the excesses if you will.

  • Christian Engler
    2019-05-18 08:22

    Sex is supposed to be the culmination to human love. But in Judith’s Rossner’s clear-cut and unsettling novel, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, sex-for its characters (especially Theresa Dunn and those whom she picks up)-is the trophy/reward par excellance. And if love happens to fall into place after the fact, all the better. But, if not, it’s no big deal. After all, sex is sex. It’s no biggie. It feels good, and to hell with the possible ramifications in hunting for it. It’s all backwards, a byproduct of the sixties and of the warped sexual revolution, for freedom without boundaries only begs for trouble.I vacillated between liking this novel and then wanting to toss it aside due to the total frustrating roller coaster emotionalism of the protagonist. But the compelling character study and the sheer driving force of the plot and edgy narration made it a difficult work to readily dismiss. In one respect, Theresa Dunn (a caring teacher for the hearing impaired by day and a no-holds-bar sexual thrill seeker by night) is vulnerable and wounded in the nether-reaches of her self, a hurt acquired through the trauma of a childhood illness. That illness created a minor physical deformity as well as a deep-rooted sense of low self esteem. How do you fight that which is inherently in you and you can’t accept it? Naturally evoking a pathos, she battles against herself, her family and the outside world, and against the agony of life. But the medicine she chooses, sex, (like any drug) only makes her life tailspin downward. However, the men in her life don’t help her, for they are extremes in their own right. Yet, it is in the extreme (the addiction) that she thinks is her compatibility, and anything less than that simply will not do. If she suffers physical abuse (which she does) it is only a byproduct of a better time to be had - eventually. She is on a seesaw. And when the traditional boundaries, such as family and faith, crumble (it was never really there to begin with), it directly attacks the individual who previously held on to the former for strength and guidance. It’s a shakeup into misery. Throughout my reading, I wanted to give Theresa a dope slap while simultaneously I felt sorry for her. She hurled herself into her demise. Based on the true story of the Roseann Quinn murder case, it really put the single life under the microscope, more so for women than for men. And herein is where the hypocrisy of society lies. If this were the story of a guy, he’d just be sowing his wild oats and getting into trouble for it while the woman would be deemed a person of loose morals and questionable character. Yet, there is so much more to the woman’s story than meets the eye. But nobody is willing to look beyond that. That makes this story a double tragedy. And that seems to be the message (at least one of them) that Looking for Mr.Goodbar is trying to get across. It is definitely a sympathetic retelling of a complex story. If anything, the novel evoked even more strongly the need for faith and family, and screw societal and cultural dictates. But life just isn’t that easy, at least in Judith Rossner’s assessment.

  • Sara Pauff
    2019-05-09 08:22

    Note to parents: Theresa Dunn is not a role model for your daughter. She spends her evenings trolling bars, looking for any man who will abuse her physically, verbally or emotionally, so she can have sex with them. When she finally meets a man who truly values her, she rejects him and his love for her, because she can't believe that he would love a woman with such low self-esteem (neither can I, really). Ultimately, she has sex with the wrong abusive psycho and is murdered.All that being said, it is a very entertaining read. I didn't like Theresa, but her "descent into hell," as the blurb on my copy put it, is fascinating enough to keep you reading and it moves quickly. A good book for the beach or a long plane trip.

  • Zoe Crosher
    2019-04-26 04:15

    Beginning section describing the murder from the cowboy's POV is totally unnecessary and seems like a cinematic embellishment. I almost stopped reading. But as the story progresses, I realize it is part of this 70s/80s genre of attempting-to-be-liberated women that in the end gets punished for this new found sexual freedom (the worst in this case = death.) Think Erica Jong, Judy Bloom's Women, etc.

  • Elena
    2019-04-23 06:33

    okay, saying i ''loved'' this book is not quite right--but i have to say it's brilliantly written. it's a perfect representation of the dark side of the sexual revolution of the '60's and '70's yet still rings true as a representation of the insecurities that still haunt women.

  • Lela
    2019-04-30 04:25

    This book was so shocking when I read it long ago. But, it was so compelling that everyone I knew was talking about it for months and months. And, even now, it's still part of our lexicon. In one way or the other, it changed most readers views.

  • Fiona
    2019-05-08 05:13

    Starts with Gary White's confession to violently assaulting and murdering Theresa Dunn in her New York apartment. Then goes back over Theresa's life and the experiences that brought her to bring Gary White back to her apartment. I didn't particularly like Theresa as a character, however towards the end you are hoping she and James will work things out, while knowing that can't happen.

  • Patrick
    2019-05-05 05:30

    Theresa Dunn , twentyseven, single, living in Manhattan, not looking for love, but for herself in all the wrong places. Her poor relationships with men and women doom her.

  • Veronica
    2019-05-04 04:22

    I remember reading this book years ago when I was a bit too young for it (13 lol) and it has stuck with me in a way. How sad her life was and the shocking ending. Classic.

  • Quadrophenia718
    2019-05-03 05:17

    Even nearly 40 years after it was published, this book continues to incite a decent amount of debate whenever anyone sits down to talk about it, and I guess I can sort of see why. I mean, I know that it can be read like as indictment against the liberalized sexuality of the late sixties -- woman discovers sex, woman DIES -- but ultimately I feel like that is perhaps a bit too simplistic.Theresa is lost. She's lost from the beginning of the book and she's lost at the end of it, and the real tragedy of the story is that nowhere in that great span of time does anyone really realize that she's lost, and THAT is what ultimately kills her. I have tried (and largely failed) to find an interview with Judith Rossner about what she was trying to convey with this novel -- if she was trying to "kill feminism," because that criticism has been lobbed at this novel before -- but in the absence of a clear-cut answer either way, I think that Rossner was highlighting second wave feminism's shortcomings, rather than trying excoriate the entire movement.I think the point here is that sexual self-discovery can only take a person so far if there isn't also some degree of emotional self-discovery that comes with it. Theresa finds a salve for her crippling self-doubt, but she doesn't find a cure for it. And that's where she comes apart at the seams. There are hints throughout the second half of the novel that there are different paths she could have taken, different things friends and family could have said...but they all would have wound up leading to the same place because Theresa didn't know what she wanted and couldn't explore it without resorting to one of two extremes, the virgin or the whore.And that's why I think this IS ultimately a feminist novel. It is about the lack of available options for women outside of the roles that society thrusts them into. Theresa is lost, and there is no real way for her to become un-lost, so she splits herself into multiple people because no one place will accept her whole as she is, and she cracks. It's been 40 years, but to be honest, I'm not sure how much different it is for a lot of women now.

  • Robert
    2019-05-21 12:26

    This novel, a sensation when published at the height of the sexual revolution of the 70’s, holds up extremely well. Based on the real life case of a young schoolteacher named Rosanne Quinn, who in 1973 was murdered by a man she’d picked up in a singles bar in NYC, Goodbar enlarges upon the story, summing up the era with insight and heartbreaking psychological acuity. Rossner’s heroine, named Theresa, enjoys her independence and the sexual freedom of the times, but recoils from any real intimacy with men—and, as it turns out, with anyone else, including her family and the few coworkers with whom she is friendly. At one point she muses on the difficulty of connecting with others: “To talk with people you had to ignore the way you felt and speak from the front of your face…or else go through the effort of distilling those feelings into something that made some kind of sense, was acceptable in some way. That was what words did, really, make some kind of order out of the dark jumble of feelings and perceptions and nightmares inside you.” (p.162) Contrary to what certain reactionary readers seem to believe, Rossner makes no judgement on Theresa’s sexual behaviors; instead she makes it clear that it is Theresa’s unresolved issues with her family and her damaged concept of self that lead to her self-loathing and disconnect from others, which in turn lead to her sexual compulsivity, and, eventually, her tragic end. The Richard Brooks-directed 1977 film version starring Diane Keaton did take a more conservative, self-righteous approach to the material, choosing to lash out at both the younger generation in particular and at the sexual revolution in general in rather knee-jerk fashion (that the latter had more than its share of excesses is undeniable, but a lot of the story's nuances were lost). Anyway, this book is smartly written and riveting, and comes highly recommended: 5 for 5.

  • Marty
    2019-05-21 06:38

    This was one of those couldn't-put-it-down novels. The feminist issues it addresses are perhaps not as fresh or as wildly political as they once were, but they are still relevant. Through Theresa, a young, outwardly nonchalant but inwardly vulnerable woman, Rossner addresses the 'battle between the sexes,' the pressure to be 'perfect' and the devastating effects of both on women like Terry in the 1970s.Terry suffered from polio at a very young age, something that could have been lessened if her parents hadn't been so wrapped up in their grief for her older brother. Later, this illness causes a curvature of the spine which requires several surgeries to correct. Terry, who feels ugly and unloved compared to her beautiful older sister and athletic younger sister, begins to isolate herself emotionally. Her first love affair, with a manipulative, egotistical college professor, ends so painfully that she begins to starve herself.Later, she becomes a school teacher, a job she loves, while spending her nights in bars, picking up strangers. In this way, she seeks to reassure herself that she is desirable, while at the same time avoiding emotional rejection. Paradoxically this makes her feel powerful but also bolsters her lack of self-worth. This dual role of exploiting and being exploited is by now a classic symptom of past unaddressed pain.This is a "period piece" - some of the language and social attitudes will seem pretty old fashioned to young women today. Terry's promiscuity and lack of attention of safe sex appears not only idiotic but almost criminally negligent in the age of potentially fatal, incurable STDs and rampant sexual predators. By that token, the ending certainly comes as no surprise but it doesn't make Terry any less of a tragic figure.

  • Ashley Scott
    2019-05-14 05:14

    I don't know what to think about this one, if I'm being honest. I didn't dislike it, I found it interesting - only I have extremely mixed emotions when it comes to Theresa Dunn, ranging from empathy to anger and back again. To keep myself from going insane and thinking the book to death, I think the important question to ask, after reading this, is not WHY Theresa becomes/is the way she is - because I have as hard of time sympathizing with her as I do resenting her - but rather just to accept that she is just a very disturbed and lost girl, whether you can understand her vantage point or not - the why bit is the least important bit of them all. I wish things were different for her, but the story warns you as it opens of her ultimate fate. I found myself wondering about those she left behind after I finished the book - how would they take the news of her incredibly violent murder? How would that fit in with their own perceptions of the girl they knew? I feel the sorriest for James. Side notes - I believe this was written in the 70s, but I think it has aged with extraordinary grace. It also has a very The Bell Jar vibe to it.

  • Lisa Greer
    2019-05-09 06:11

    I am speeding through this one, and 2/3s in, it is getting 5 stars. Yes, I'd seen the movie and it was harrowing. I will never forget it. But, wow, what riveting, compelling writing. I like the close character study and psychological character insights in this novel. I think Rossner does a nice job of showing the emptiness of modern life for so many women... and that was in 1975... at least the paperback I am reading. It is utterly chilling in so many ways, and it is even more painful reading it now after time has passed and things aren't much different for many "Theresas" out there that I've known... girls who grew up with emotionally distant or cold fathers, with some physical "defect," with fundamentalist religious trappings, and, sadly, with brains and potential that were never fully tapped. They constantly search for love... for the next man who will make it ok, while most of the men simply use them (and eventually the Theresas learn to play that game, too, to their own detriment). This novel rips my heart out...