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Godspeed

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  440 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Jim is a butch bike messenger and speedfreak who is suddenly faced with an ultimatum by her girlfriend: clean up or get out. Unable to kick her drug habit, Jim ends up unemployed and alone, so as a newly hired band roadie, she takes off for New York from San Francisco and starts to finally clean up. But even after changing her ways, Jim still finds herself dissatisfied and...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 724)
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Anna Springer
Very fast fun book. Inside scoop: story is SOMEWHAT based in real life, though very very fictionalized too. For instance, I didn't become a junkie (not with heroin anyway) and Lynn was sober when we were together (the ultimatum was about monogamy). What's beautiful about the book is the recurring motif of "vehicles of travel" as both concept and metaphor - the book asks "what is motion" and "what is stasis" and reinvestigates ideas of "progress" as the main character continually zings and flings...more
Susan
Having dealt with more than my fair share of annoying speed addicts, I was a little hesitant to read Godspeed. However, having also spent a lot of time around Tribe-8's music and lots of wonderful, swaggering women over the years, I decided it was worth taking a look.

With the personal stuff in mind, I must say that this is the *best* look at methamphetamine abuse and denial behavior I've ever read. In an odd twist, it made me MORE sympathetic to people who suffer from meth abuse and constant de...more
Jessica
Godspeed is obsessive and poetic. A character study of a speed freak courier who passes as a boy looking for love, belonging and freedom. The hard-edged story flies off the page, and follows Jim in his race to deliver the goods and find god in an arm full of speed or the arms of his girlfriend. He's a transman, she's a stripper and he can't get enough. It's an exhausting read, and it captures the momentum of a movement. Breedlove's punk gender bending style swings from harsh to funny in a heartb...more
Kae Roberts
loved it, couldn't stop reading it. so grateful to finally be reading about grrrls/dykes who are loud, brash and unapologetic.
Michael Thomas Angelo
Apr 09, 2009 Michael Thomas Angelo marked it as to-read
I love Lynn Breedlove and can't wait to read this book
Janine
What do I think? I think you should read this book.
Ali
Jul 30, 2011 Ali added it
This book is amazing!
Merredith
Nov 29, 2008 Merredith rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like artsy books or live in sf
Shelves: lesbian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ciara
Nov 20, 2008 Ciara rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: speed freak bike couriers, unimaginative bike couriers, self-satisfied jerks
Shelves: read-in-2006
i once met someone who claimed that this was his favorite book. i don't get that. this book kind of sucks. it's the story of a speed freak bicycle messenger of indeterminate gender & sexuality, but there's probably a queer element in there somewhere. basically this kid wrecks everything through being a drug addict. romantic relationships, jobs, band, everything, & seems totally unprentant about it, except maybe the protaganist finally kicks drugs in the end or something. it's a classic e...more
jess
Geez. What did I think of this book?

This is the filthy gutterpunk account of Jim, a speed freak, unemployable bike messenger, genderfucking dyke-ish person of indeterminate gender and sexuality from the Bay Area (of course) who is forced to choose between the love of her life (a stripper, of course) and drugs (of course). It's totally trashy, escapist literature. I wish I had read it on a plane or a beach in long stretches of time, instead of little bits of lunch breaks and bedtimes. It probabl...more
Kyle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tatiana
Nov 06, 2008 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: chris
Shelves: lez
it's really hard to read this and not think of valencia. crazy gay girls running around getting their hearts broken, drugs, sex workers, san francisco, etc, etc. and i keep going back to valencia in my head and trying to see what i loved there that's not here. i think maybe it's the flow, and the purpose. valencia is possibly just as meandering a book, but seems much more cohesive and smooth. but i'm already a michelle tea fan. and michelle tea is a lynn breedlove fan, or so says my back cover....more
Red
Mar 04, 2008 Red rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hothead Paisan fans
Shelves: queer
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. I'm really not a sex-drugs-rock-and-roll type, and this book really is - but other than a few loose ends and sometimes an overheaping of grit, this book was really strong. there was an underlying sweetness to it, and a real honesty about change, confusion, temptation, and ambivalence. some books do a lot of grit for the sake of grit, and lots of violence and lawlessness just smashed over your head in order to feel the smash. other books are really i...more
Rachel
As a fan of Breedlove's punk band Tribe 8 (they did a killer cover of the 70s rock classic Radar Love) I had to read this book. It is a slice of San Francisco in the 1990s. The punks, the queers, the bike messengers, the meth. (It's kind of weird now that I live in Washington where meth is the drug that all the rural communities get infected with creating all these horrible problems. When I lived in San Francisco meth was what all the hipsters did, kind of like the 1990s answer to coke in the 19...more
Jace
Jul 08, 2008 Jace rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with a fondness for punks.
Shelves: trans, queer
This book is complicated. I've been meaning to buy it since I first picked it up from the library some years ago 'cause I love Godspeed and keep re-reading it, but somehow I've never gotten around to doing it. I think I have a love/hate relationship with this semi-autobiographical novel... There are parts I hate so much within it, mostly involving certain unwise decisions by protagonist Jim, and yet I can't help pitying and caring about him/her.

I'd recommend the novel if only for the awesome des...more
Sassafras Lowrey
CLASSIC. if you want to look at literature by/for/about queer punks this is a great place to start. as a XXX the drug use sometimes was challenging to read - but it was real and not overly romanticized
Javier
Gutterpunk prose. Speed, bikes, kink, genderqueers, butch/femme dynamics, vigilante feminist justice from a masculine perspective...shall I just start singing 'these are a few of my favorite things' now, or shall we wait? A dear friend gifted this book to me with a dear inscription included. My copy has since grown ragged as I think I've re-read it twice now, most recently in an up-till-midnite stretch of a day. There's a lot of layers to this book, and I love the wit, intellect, charm, and cade...more
Judah
It's interesting to me that so many of the other reviews here say things like "not enough queerness, too many drugs" when it would seem to me that the whole point of the book *is* about the drug use. Sure, Lynnee wants to include les/trans/genderfuck characters, but the gist of what she is getting at are the repercussions of speed addiction....sexuality/gender are both second-story. Why not enjoy a story that has les/trans/genderfuck main characters, but doesn't focus solely on those themes?

For...more
Steve
A frantic, twisted, intense, hilarious read about drugs, punks, gender and generally being an outsider. Really incredible at times, with a pace throughout that makes you wonder if you actually have taken speed. It's also a love story.



Arielle
I think i wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. Some of Lynn's prose is great, especially the parts about her falling in love with Ally, but the rest was pretty repetitive. Lots of fights, lots of bike messenger bro talk, lots of drug talk... all of which quickly starts to get boring. Also not sure what was up with the constant bringing up of her mother in a sexual context, but that got old really fast. Also, I haven't seen this mentioned in many reviews but there is A LOT of sexua...more
Mk
Dec 15, 2009 Mk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: queer
I picked this book up because it seemed that if I wanted any claim to punk rock dyke-dom it was something I needed to read. I hated the first 50 pages or so, and it was only stubbornness that kept me reading. I've finished a lot of shitty books out of stubbornness, but this time it paid off.

Jim's gender resonated a lot with me. The idea of an in-between space, of being a boy who's happy with her body, of being a boy and a dyke at the same time. All of this was wonderful to read. Jim is a complic...more
Gabrielle Gautieri
This book was fun. I discovered it when I was venturing out alone into shady sections of outer Boston to attend queer performance events. There I was fortunate enough to hear the author read an excerpt from this book before it was even completed. Breedlove is a little crazy. Super high energy, either on speed or hyper-espresso filled, she's a character herself. I'm certain I heard her voice (it's hard to miss) coming over the loudspeaker at Michigan last year complaining that more womyn weren't...more
Heather
i dunno, i usually love recovery books & stuff by navel-gazing punks. i don't think i really dig the san francisco sister spit swagger tho. it's too precious & self-impressed for my taste.

oh, & i skimmed enough of the last 100 or so pages to realize the point of the book, & still couldn't bring myself to go back & finish it proper. i'd read enough versions of "i'm so awesome, even when i'm a bastard, i'm so awesome. also, i'm sometimes lame, but i do it awesomely."
Catrina
Well, "it was ok" is exactly it for me. I'm sure this book probably spoke to others but it felt like you had to be on crack to connect with the main character. Not a good before bedtime read to say the least! I guess the part I liked was looking into the life of a SF bike messenger... a gay punk girl as the main character? Even better! But the story is very drawn out and I kinda wanted to reach into the book and slap her on the face a fw times.
Roxane
Very brief review...

I was slightly disappointed in this novel. I was looking forward to some gender roles dissection, some controversial topics, some illuminated insight into transgenderism... well, the book held some of those but, in my mind, the interesting bits were drowned in Jim's (the main character)various addictions (drug, alcohol, girls, etc.)

I really think I didn't approach this book correctly.
Jess
I like that the author is writing about San Fransisco hags... but the lax writing style makes it difficult for me to get into. It was hard for me to follow along due to all of the inproper grammer, the lack of quotation marks to indicate when someone is talking, drug slang, sex slang, bike slang, hag slang, and life slang. Good sence of humor, but I could't get myself to finish the book.
Cannon
Love this book. Gonna put it back on my to read list. Should be a once every 10year occasion.
Michael Fraser
Starts out ok. Interesting take on addiction, but the narrative voice becomes more grating as the novel goes on and the pacing in the second half of the novel is inept.
Ariel
I received Godspeed from one of my classmates in a holiday gift exchange. It's a pretty quick read, lots of stream of conciousness. I loved that the book revolved around queer women and a bike messenger as the narrator Jim tries to win her girlfriend back. I think I'd have enjoyed this book more if there were more bikes and less drugs.
Charlie
Aug 14, 2007 Charlie added it
Shelves: queer
I started this book really excited to read it. Tribe 8 singer, SF, punk rock--so much potential.

I really wanted to like it, but I've tried to read it a couple times, and every time I start & I get bored and can't finish.

And I couldn't even describe what I've read in the past--it's all one long drug-haze of downward spiral after another.
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“She turns around. Nice ass. Bad, too. Please let me some day kick as much of it as she does.” 1 likes
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