- Paperback: 254 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Trade; 1st edition (July 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1573225541
- ISBN-13: 978-1573225540
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Going Down Paperback – July 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Belle combines very funny, sharply written prose and a superb grasp of narrative in her debut novel. At the center of it all is her unforgettable main character, Bennington Bloom, a 19-year-old who goes to work as a call girl in high-class New York City brothels to put herself through NYU. This is no hooker with a heart of gold. She's better. The arresting combination of her caustic wit and insightful observations make for a wickedly hilarious sense of humor evoking Dorothy Parker. This is keenest when she's in bed with the men who are paying her for sex; to focus her mind elsewhere, she calculates how much money she's making. She's not about to take anything seriously: her dysfunctional family, her ridiculous acting classes, her stress-induced ulcer, her wayward friends, her intensely type-A boyfriend or, least of all, herself. Even in her moments of intense self-pity when she's confessing to her deaf, senile shrink, she can stand far enough away to laugh, or at least smirk. Things do faze her but, true to her restless nature, never for long. With tight prose and precise detail, Belle transforms the perverse into the absurd and tempers it with an empathy that prevents the book from becoming mean or crude. Belle's riotous, vivid debut has the energy and gritty appeal of New York City itself. 50,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Bennington Bloom is a 19-year-old acting student at New York Univeristy in search of a part-time job. Answering an ad in the Village Voice for "coeds" leads her into a life as a high-paid call girl. In a light, no-nonsense, humorous voice, Bennington describes her sexual experiences, her adventures with eccentric friends, and her distant father. She becomes so hooked on the easy money she makes as a prostitute that when she finds a decent man and moves in with him, she can't give it up. Instead, she invents a job for herself as a caterer to explain her frequent evening absences, which leads to heartbreak and humiliation when the truth is discovered. While Belle is clearly a writer to watch, having crafted a first novel that is compulsively readable, her characters are so shallow that in the end the reader is left with nothing substantial to remember. Recommended for adventurous readers.?Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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I felt as if much of the story was impelled by quirky for quirky's sake rather than being impelled by what course of action made sense. You can get really frustrated really easy if you start looking for normal human motivations. My advice: don't do it.
The life of a prostitute, told humorously, is a good bet to provide you a few hours entertainment. If that's all you want this is a perfect choice.
Bennington was a strange, imperfect, hilarious character that i don't think you have to "like," to enjoy reading about. She took on many jobs as an escort, had a serious commitment problem, tried to raise all of this money to go to NYU, only deciding to quit it not much later. She also made a bad choice with her boyfriend, Adam, who treated her terribly. Of course she would try to do everything he said only to have him find fault with that as well. Obviously this is not a woman I would want to hang out with because she has some serious problems, but seeing her from afar, you can't help but feel sorry for her and be intrigued about what makes her tick.
What I liked best about the book was the style in which it was written. She made observations about people that stick with you or make you laugh out loud, like "she had an unfortunate Pippi Longstocking appearance", or "I was friends with a girl in my building who was emotionally disturbed. She could recite Alice in Wonderland from beginning to end without stopping. Sometimes she would just scream for hours, going up and down in the elevator. I liked her a lot." Its obviously a book I should read more slowly next time, because I'm sure I missed a lot.
I could have done without the Vivian and Lars characters, or at least leave them out of the second half of the book. Other than that, it's great!