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Looking for Mr. Goodbar

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,404 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
Theresa was a quietly satisfied young teacher by day. But when the sun went down, her life was an endless, faceless whirl of bars and beds and men she'd never seen before and wouldn't see again. If she couldn't find love, she took chances on men who were better than no men at all. And learned, with each new night and each new nightmare, that finding her man was only the be ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published January 15th 1991 by Pocket Books (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 18, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Gary Wyatt
”To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

 photo Seasons_zpsfae2e484.jpg

Professor 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
Julie Ehlers
Jun 28, 2015 Julie Ehlers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction


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
Apr 02, 2016 Ted rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This isn't a review. It's personal history, and a reflection on memory

A 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 boo
Jun 21, 2014 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
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 balanc ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
"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 ...more
Heather *live on coffee and flowers*
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.
Feb 17, 2009 Cori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 26, 2007 Stephy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not
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.
Virgilio Machado
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.

This dismal tale is told in the co
Ronald Wise
Sep 20, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 un
Erin Biegel
Nov 29, 2012 Erin Biegel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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♥
One of my favourite books and I want to read again. Going to see if I can find it on my shelves.
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
Ashley Scott
Feb 24, 2015 Ashley Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2015
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 th
Zoe Crosher
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.
Mar 05, 2008 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 18, 2015 Quadrophenia718 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 trage
Oct 30, 2014 Marty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Greer
Aug 13, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sara Pauff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this one on a lark. Well, wow. I couldn't put the damn thing down. Terry broke my heart. James broke my heart. This book twisted and squeezed my guts. And the last two pages literally terrified me. Not sure what else to say except I hope I can sleep tonight.
Apr 16, 2015 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just EHHH for me. Really didn't like Theresa much. Yes, she had a rough time as a kid, but she just wasn't a very nice person. Still .... not sure she deserved all she got. Kind of an odd story. Guess it might have been different had I read it back when it first came out.
Sara Steger
One I had always meant to read but never got around to. Holds up well taken out of its time.
Jun 22, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good solid book about the potential consequences of promiscuity before the age of AIDS.

People who live in this generation might not understand or appreciate this book. After all, we are living in a world without boundaries where sexting happens with people you've never met as easily as it does with someone you know, married people are fair game in the dating arena, and senior citizens are the fastest growing population to contract HIV.

Does anyone know of a book that speaks to this generation
Literary Lass
May 11, 2016 Literary Lass rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Visit Literary Lass for more reviews & giveaways

A mind bender of a read with severely flawed and scarred characters.

We learn from the start Theresa is dead via police report, killers statement leaving you chilled, a brazen beginning provides in captivating readers attention.

We learn of Theresa, her relationships and who she is as she herself is clueless regarding her authentic self.

The story is dark, Theresa carries heavy emotional childhood baggage which continues to spill over into her lif
Jun 27, 2015 Downward rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
in some ways this is a novel about the lethalities of catholic guilt; that each sin is a gateway to the next sin, and the scaffolding of those sins can lead to destructive behavior that leads to death. you could say that the novel's protag, terry, when leaving a good catholic boy who has been nothing but kind to her only for the reason that he doesn't want her to sleep with other people (this good catholic boy, james, is a lousy lay) she is literally asking for it when she gets murdered for pick ...more
L. (Climbing Mt. TBR one page at a time)
This is one of those oddities where the killer was vastly more interesting than the victim. The first chapter is focused on Gary as he confesses his crime and relates his messed up life. The book already had potential. But then we leave Gary behind and must chart the course of Theresa Dunn's emotionally unbalanced life. I kept wishing we could get back to Gary.

As another reviewer here aptly put it, Theresa is a hot mess. She's also a tad bit dull. I'm not saying I hate Terry, but I got tired of
Lindsay Luke
I didn't see the movie or read the book back in the 70s. I remember the preview for the movie distinctly. It had a scene depicting cockroaches in a sink full of dirty dishes. I had not yet seen anything like this in real life and it definitely made an impression. I wasn't old enough to go to R rated movies yet, and didn't really have any desire to see it. For some reason, I had not heard of the book. I read Fear of Flying and The Women's Room, so I'm not sure why this book never made it onto my ...more
Renee Deleon
Disappointed. I enjoy reading books about this particular decade and this book seemed to be on many "best lists" of the 1970's. The book was written in 1975, but most the plot takes place during the 60's. It isn't until the actual crime is committed that it is 1970. Anyone who is familiar with the title or the movie knows ahead of time that there are not going to be any surprises. I did not mind that the crime is described within the first few pages through a conversation between the police and ...more
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Judith Perelman Rossner was an American novelist, best known for her 1975 novel Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which was inspired by the murder of Roseann Quinn and examined the underside of the seventies sexual liberation movement. Though Looking for Mr. Goodbar remained Rossner's best known and best selling work, she continued to write. Her most successful post-Goodbar novel was 1983's August, about t ...more
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