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Dirty Weekend

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  480 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
"Bella woke up one morning and realized she'd had enough". So begins the triumphant tale of one woman's personal vendetta against a world of peeping toms, rapists, and obscene phone-callers.
Paperback, 187 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Cleis Press (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Yara Tethys
May 12, 2007 Yara Tethys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is THE BEST post-break-up book ever.
Apr 07, 2011 bobbygw rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, feminism
This is strong, provocative fiction whose style is reminiscent of the writers Gordon Lish (e.g., Peru, Dear Mr. Capote), early Jenny Diski (e.g., Nothing Natural) and Andrea Dworkin (Mercy, Ice and Fire), in terms of its honesty to consider and portray ugly realities and truths through the experiences of their female characters and the chameleon forms of violence perpetrated against women. Dirty Weekend, an account of 48 hours of violence against one woman, and her retributions, is by turns biza ...more
Jul 31, 2008 Rose rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any woman
Recommended to Rose by: online reading club
It says something that the author was able to get the hippyest, dippyest, non-violent, anti-vigilantism chick in the world to cheer on each scene where Bella exacted revenge on her attackers. Also, I have never really been into guns, but this book powerfully made the argument that the only thing that can put men and women on equal footing in this world is a gun. A a big helping of rage doesn't hurt either.

There was a discussion of whether we should warn men that we'll strike back if they strike
Dawn Sam
Oct 06, 2009 Dawn Sam rated it really liked it
This is like reading the female version of a Chuck Norris revenge movie. Are Bela's criminal acts defensible? Marginally, if at all. Is she a model of moral propriety? Heck, no. But for everyone who has ever been cat-called, stalked, molested or goddess forbid, raped, this book is like a cleansing tonic, an opportunity to live out your violent revenge fantasies. The subtitle of the book is "A Novel of Revenge," after all.

Here's a quote:
"She was too nice. She was just too nice. Niceness had alway
Paul Bryant
Oct 01, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok
Shelves: verysleazyfun, novels
I remembered I read this one when it came out and now looking at the GR reviews, I confess I'm a little surprised at all the high-fives proffered by the female reviewers. Because Dirty Weekend is right there with I Spit on your Grave or Last House on the Left or Baise-Moi, all those rape revenge movies that got trashed by all the critics and are generally hated by women for pretty good reasons. So I wonder if the reviewers here like those movies. And I do think you can compare Dirty Weekend the ...more
Jan 11, 2008 jack rated it liked it
are you mad at the world? read this book. the main character just goes totally bananas and beats up and kills all these men that fuck with her. it is totally awesome.
May 11, 2016 Jazz rated it really liked it
'There are certain laws of nature, she reflect, certain iron laws, that you flout at your peril. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Men with thin skulls shouldn't try to to involve randomly selected women in their fantasies'

I stumbled upon this book in a list of 'feminist' books to read. While a murderous rampage slaughtering rapists and creeps may not appeal to the sensibilities of every feminist, I loved it. Little is said about the rage that lies beneath the intense socialisation
Thomas Strömquist
To use a cliché, this book is like a punch in the jaw. This has been used to describe books good and bad in my opinion and this one represents the good. Bella's revenge is of the kind where you know you should avert your eyes, but you can't. I realize that this book is nearing 25 years now, and it may be tame in comparison, but in the early 90's it really packed a punch.
Oct 09, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Amazing feminist revenge fantasy. But be forewarned, there is more hardcore violence in this book than in any Tarantino movie.
Mar 24, 2010 Miriam rated it it was amazing
a wonderful and empowering book, for when you have had enough
Dec 05, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing
one of the best feminist books EVER. revenge fantasy but with a plausibly awkward, angry & not-superhuman protagonist. read read read.
Ileana Cocos
Aug 04, 2011 Ileana Cocos rated it it was ok
Well :) let's start by saying that the book is naughty. Very naughty. But not in the porn romantic kinda way you see in the soap opera books,or how do u call them, but in a veryyy veryyy dirty way indeed. The title speaks for itself. If I would write a book right know, it would probably be in the way Zahabi did it, a bit chaotic, a bit meditative, a bit like a mind, that speaks out, a story-teller that is watching behing the dirty dirty scenes. The idea itself of the book striked me as a very od ...more
May 07, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it
Nice bit of revenge fantasy as Bella kills first the peeping-tom/obscene phone caller who threatens her and then proceeds to take out six other men who attack her. Although perhaps it is too easy because all of the men that Bella kills have it coming, so everything is structured in a way that the pleasure is found in her taking the revenge we want her to take. Still this is a rare book, the woman as avenger. The power is in the point of view. No deep characterization of Bella here, however. In t ...more
Jun 28, 2007 Dorothy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone but especially chicks
I picked this up in B&N's bargain bin when I was in college, almost 10 years ago. This is one of my favorite books probably because at the time I'd never read anything like it. I've read it a few times over the years and each time it gets my fist pumping in the air, "You go girl with your badass self." I will always remain distrustful of male dentists.
I even loaned it to my dad and he enjoyed it but admitted he was a little scared of the protag.
I loved this book. Ingenious story idea. An excellent read and thoroughly entertaining all the way through. An easy read, even though full of violence at times the story is quite compelling and you really sympathise with the character Bella. A very feminist empowered read full of black humour and nonstop action.
Dec 25, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Female Quentin Terantino Fans
This books is just purely good. It plays a movie in your head. It is a book about coming back, reclaiming self, saying "I am . . . respect me . . . stop treating me like I exist only to satisfy your idle needs . . . I am . . . respect me or I will reduce you to the slime that you are. . . ." Thats what this book is about. Read it.
Xochitl Alvarez
Aug 03, 2010 Xochitl Alvarez rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
When I read this the first time in 1994, it was atually entitled "The Weekend". I fell in love with it instantly and have read many times over the last few years. Every woman has a Bella inside, I feel.
Jun 09, 2011 Del rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply excellent.
Dec 26, 2007 Cameron rated it liked it
Umm ... dont f@#k with women ... ever
Jun 05, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah..Psychotic vengeance and gore, delivered by a woman. Just what I needed. Now I feel better. Bring on the Mary Sues. My irritation meter is back at zero.
Jan 02, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book enough! It's a great black comedy with some serious feminist undertones. Unfortunately it seems to be quite hard to get ahold of now so grab it if you see it!
Aug 03, 2011 Lynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at the tail end of a very ill considered marriage. And then promptly gave copies to every other woman I knew who was in a relationship with a bastard. We all LOVED it.
Alison Cresswell
Jul 21, 2015 Alison Cresswell rated it it was amazing
All women should read this book !
Wahiaronkwas David
Wicked. By turns funny and horrifying.
Trixie Fontaine
Mar 13, 2015 Trixie Fontaine rated it it was amazing
I read this quite a few years ago and don't remember a ton of specifics, only that it really moved me / I liked it a lot.
Mar 08, 2009 Mandy rated it it was amazing
This book is possibly the best book I have ever read. A very dark psychological thriller.
Jul 07, 2016 Iria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirsi Mannonen
Jun 14, 2017 Kirsi Mannonen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Lets carry garbage out! Lets cleanse the world from those cesspools of filthy perversions: misogynists, antifeminists and other feminazis! I sympathize ethically, but not aesthetically. Literary equivalent of flushing toilets is difficult to write, and Zahavi is not that masterfully talented person. ...more
Danny Reid
Jul 04, 2017 Danny Reid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How the hell is this not in every freshman-level college course in the country? Amazing writing, a real glimpse into the cruelties of the world with no chintzy postmodernisms gumming up the works. Just visceral and astonishing.
Miguel Buddle
Mar 11, 2017 Miguel Buddle rated it liked it
Intense revenge fantasy. More powerful than it is good. I'm not mad I read it.
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  • Cutter
Helen Zahavi is a British novelist who worked as a Russian-English translator before becoming a writer.

Her first novel, Dirty Weekend (1991), is about a young woman who is tormented by a predatory neighbour until she finally has enough. So with a smile on her lips and a gun in her hand she goes out in the night and kills seven perverts in two days.

The book caused a media storm on publication and
More about Helen Zahavi...

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“She smiled at him. It was her special smile. Her please go away you piece of sub-proletarian turd smile.” 6 likes
“She could never take an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The weak and flaccid parity would make her nearly puke. She wants an eye for a tooth, and a life for an eye.” 5 likes
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