Dirty Weekend
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Dirty Weekend

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  314 ratings  ·  50 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, 200 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Cleis Press (first published 1991)
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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Best Feminist Fiction
233rd out of 766 books — 1,661 voters
Obsidian by Jennifer L. ArmentroutAngelfall by Susan EeHalf-Blood by Jennifer L. ArmentroutGraceling by Kristin CashoreDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Hidden Gems in YA
160th out of 192 books — 289 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Yara Tethys
This is THE BEST post-break-up book ever.
Dawn Sam
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...more
Aug 01, 2008 Rose rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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.
one of the best feminist books EVER. revenge fantasy but with a plausibly awkward, angry & not-superhuman protagonist. read read read.
Amazing feminist revenge fantasy. But be forewarned, there is more hardcore violence in this book than in any Tarantino movie.
a wonderful and empowering book, for when you have had enough
Ileana Cocos
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
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.
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
Jun 28, 2007 Dorothy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Dec 25, 2007 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
Xochitl Alvarez
Aug 08, 2010 Xochitl Alvarez rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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!
This book is possibly the best book I have ever read. A very dark psychological thriller.
Wahiaronkwas David
Wicked. By turns funny and horrifying.
Umm ... dont f@#k with women ... ever
Simply excellent.
I really thought this book was going to be something psychologically fantastic and deep but really all I felt it resulted in being was vulgar and violent. It’s a dark book but it doesn’t really come up with anything profound. Bella is a muddled up and lonely girl who always finds herself the underdog. She is in her dingy little basement flat in Brighton when she discovers she is being watched by a pervy and dangerous guy over the road who begins to phone her, follow her and threaten her. But thi...more
Peter Idone
With neither humor nor depth, this novel plods unbelievably on toward one scene of revenge exacting violence after the next. It’s as though the prose gets in the way for the next blood spurting money shot to take place so might as well repeat the wording of the sentences one after the other because what the writer wants to get to is the wet work executed upon the deviates and pervs that her character is slaughtering. I was waiting, almost hoping, for a Travis Bickle like scene when Bella, in her...more
Aug 16, 2010 Charmaine rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those with obsessive personalities so that their brain may curl over the echoing paragraphs
After reading American Psycho where he has a manic breakdown in style, everything else seems a bit tame. Plus i hated this 'writing technique' she uses where she repeats an object over and over again. The object was repeated. Repeated the object was. Charmaine thought the object was repeated. The object, Charmaine noted, was indeed repeated. It happens all too often and made my brain curl with annoyance, every other paragraph.

The main character i felt wasn't likeable at all. Not even in the 'thi...more
Crystal Helcel
The British female version of American Psycho...sort of, but with more disturbing sex scenes. Very dark. don't read it if you are easily appalled.
Fiona Turner
If there more than five stars...
There were aspects of this novel that I loved and really got into but I disliked it immensely every time the author foreshadowed the events of the future. I wish there had been more mystery to it, more to find out and discover about the main character Bella. But really, it was all there from the beginning.

Glad I read it but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone.
Steven Felicelli
occasionally lapsing into feminist revenge fantasy (Hollywoodish underdog's-had-enough-ism), Zahavi's wit keeps it elevated (like an injured ankle)

genuinely transgressive, wicked at times

definitely recommend and would/will read Zahavi again
Although this is fiction, placing it on my “favorite fiction” bookshelf just didn’t seem quite right. Very powerful stuff – pretty tough to read through at times, as it delves into some of the darkest aspects of humanity. Its subject is a woman who has finally had enough of being abused and intimidated by men, and strikes back mercilessly. To steal part of a reader’s review on Amazon: “This novel is excruciatingly brutal and surprisingly funny.”
Derek Baldwin
One of the most astoundingly bad books I have ever read to the end. I remember when this was published some reviewers compared it to American Psycho, and there are of course some similarities in the plot. The difference, however, is that American Psycho has some interesting things to say and says them well. This is so bad that the atrocious Michael Winner film based on it was actually an improvement. Avoid it like the plague.
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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
More about Helen Zahavi...
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“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.” 3 likes
“She smiled at him. It was her special smile. Her please go away you piece of sub-proletarian turd smile.” 2 likes
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