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Looking for Mr. Goodbar (Washington Square Press.) Paperback – October 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Washington Square Press.
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671019015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671019013
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Judith Rossner [1935–2005] was an American novelist, most famous for the bestseller, Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1975). A lifelong New Yorker, her books centered around the themes of urban alienation and gender relations.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I'm so glad I took time out to read this book.
Shara
The book does a good job of detailing her childhood sadness and showing how those experiences permeate her adult life, thereby affecting the decisions she makes.
ec
There are some great descriptions of Theresa's thoughts as well.
SerenaBlackCat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This was a disturbing book in many ways--not because of the subjectmatter or the storytelling, but because it reaches out to anyone who reads it, forcing them to confront their darker, hidden sides. As the story begins, Theresa Dunn is a 10-year-old child who comes from a large Irish Catholic family and frequently gets overlooked. The degree to which her parents pay her little attention while lavishing affection on her older sister, Katherine, is shocking, because Theresa's spine curvature could have been corrected immediately had they noticed. This, of course, adds to Theresa's self-loathing and her feeling that she is insignificant. The operation is a success, but Theresa is not quite the same. Katherine gets emotional and tells Theresa that she looked like she "came back from the dead". Theresa also has a slight limp to show for it, a constant reminder of her unimportance. From this point on, anyone who makes a reference to Theresa's limp, however casual, is basically striking Theresa in her most vulnerable place. Her failure to come to terms with her self-loathing eventually will lead to far more trouble in the future.
Theresa is still very much the good Catholic girl, however, and she still loves children. Her decision to become an elementary school teacher allows her to temporarily step into the role of "Mother" (nurturer) and "Father" (educator), to be simultaneously the parents she wished she had. It is during her college years that she meets Martin Engle, a sardonic English professor who will have a profound effect on her already shaky self-image. Martin is married, but he is still very much adored by his female students, and he does nothing to overtly discourage them.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Judith Rossner, Looking for Mr. Goodbar (Washington Square Press, 1975)

Looking for Mr. Goodbar was an unconscionably shocking novel when it appeared in 1975. It was still shocking when Richard Brooks turned it into a devastating film featuring rising stars Richard Gere, Tom Berenger, and William Atherton as the three most important men in Diane Keaton's life. Now, here we are thirty years later. The scene Rossner set isn't shocking. But in some ways, her treatment of it is, and this is why Looking for Mr. Goodbar is still in print, three decades after its original release.

Theresa Dunn, we learn on the first page, is dead. She was killed by a guy she picked up in a bar a few hours beforehand (leading to Rex Reed's famous, and utterly inaccurate, statement "this is the story of what happens to Theresa in bars."). We go from police report to said guy's statement, which is equal parts amusing and chilling. Then the rest of the novel's three hundred ninety pages gives us Theresa's story as it leads up to her murder.

Despite Reed's tantalizing review, Theresa Dunn is not the kind of barhopper one might find in a bad seventies softcore movie. In fact, she spends not much time at all in bars themselves. (Mr. Goodbar, the name of the bar where she picks up the guy who kills her, is only mentioned by name twice in Theresa's portion of the story, if I recall correctly.) The novel actually focuses on Theresa's relationships, and how they contribute to the novel's outcome-- first with one of her college professors, and then conflicting, simultaneous relationships with two men, the macho and aggressive Tony and calm, staid James, as Theresa tries to figure out who she really is and what she wants from life.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Gypsychick on August 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's the 1970's and the world has lived through the sixties and exploded into a one big wild and careless party. The vestiges of responsibility and family begin to tear and no where is it better illustrated than in depicting the life of Theresa. Theresa is a lonely single girl, teaching underprivledged kids during the day and cruising the bar scene looking for love after dark. Living in the shadow of her seemingly fabulous sister, Theresa born the shame of spine curvature (eventually corrected by surgery), the indifference of her parents, lack of friends, and the pain of empty love relationships. Theresa during the day, Terry is her night time persona who takes the young teacher to levels she never dreamed off as the story unfolds. Theresa is at odds with the good girl vs. bad girl images and yet is spurned by physical pleasure and the thought of a lasting and pleasurable relationship. The book's end is shocking and inevitable as Theresa looks for love in all the wrong places. A cautionary tale which rings true today, a copy should be given to every Washington intern.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By AnnieBee on January 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is definitely one of those novels that is like a car accident-- it's ugly, but you can't look away. Rossner's hypnotic writing style and pitch-perfect characterization will hook you from page one. What is perhaps most haunting about this work, however, is not being ushered into this dark, lonely way of life that Theresa Dunn leads but rather finding out just how many similarities you share with her. This book will definitely stay with you, which isn't the best feeling, frankly, but trust me, if you don't read it, you're missing out on a superb literary experience.
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