Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” as Want to Read:
Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  5,110 Ratings  ·  227 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
Mass Market Paperback, April, 1976 edition, 20th printing, 390 pages
Published August 1977 by Pocket Books, Inc. (first published 1975)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 21, 2013 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
Dec 26, 2014 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
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written in 1975 so it's a bit dated but it holds up really well. It's based on a true story and I believe at one time there was a movie or a made for tv series about it so I knew the gist of the story but had never read the book.

Theresa Dunn is a beloved school teacher who loves her job but want no children of her own. She is very anti-marriage and not really capable of having relationships. She has a TON of personal baggage. To blow off steam she goes to bars and picks up men. Us
Nov 18, 2011 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
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana

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
Jan 13, 2009 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 *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
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 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 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.
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
Ronald Wise
Jul 22, 2011 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
Virgilio Machado
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Erin Biegel
Nov 29, 2012 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.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One Stranger Too Many

Looking For Mr. Goodbar was a huge hit as both a novel and a movie, becoming part of the cultural signposts of the Seventies. The novel, which came first, was based loosely on a true story of a young woman in swinging Seventies Manhattan who took home one stranger too many from a pick- up bar and didn’t survive the night to tell about. It was a shocking story for mainstream literature, particularly the lurid sexual details. But it was more than just a shock value tale. It is
Christian Engler
Sex is supposed to be the culmination to human love. But in Judith’s Rossner’s clear-cut and unsettling novel, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, sex-for its characters (especially Theresa Dunn and those whom she picks up)-is the trophy/reward par excellance. And if love happens to fall into place after the fact, all the better. But, if not, it’s no big deal. After all, sex is sex. It’s no biggie. It feels good, and to hell with the possible ramifications in hunting for it. It’s all backwards, a byproduct ...more
Sara Pauff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 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.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so shocking when I read it long ago. But, it was so compelling that everyone I knew was talking about it for months and months. And, even now, it's still part of our lexicon. In one way or the other, it changed most readers views.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, fiction, infidelity, usa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theresa Dunn , twentyseven, single, living in Manhattan, not looking for love, but for herself in all the wrong places. Her poor relationships with men and women doom her.
I remember reading this book years ago when I was a bit too young for it (13 lol) and it has stuck with me in a way. How sad her life was and the shocking ending. Classic.
Jan 18, 2015 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
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel, a sensation when published at the height of the sexual revolution of the 70’s, holds up extremely well. Based on the real life case of a young schoolteacher named Rosanne Quinn, who in 1973 was murdered by a man she’d picked up in a singles bar in NYC, Goodbar enlarges upon the story, summing up the era with insight and heartbreaking psychological acuity. Rossner’s heroine, named Theresa, enjoys her independence and the sexual freedom of the times, but recoils from any real intimacy ...more
Sep 24, 2014 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
Ashley Scott
Feb 22, 2015 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
Lisa Greer
Aug 03, 2008 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Cover image, corrections - Looking for Mr. Goodbar 2 15 Sep 14, 2016 09:05AM  
  • A Summer Place
  • Last Summer
  • Honour Thy Father
  • Up the Down Staircase
  • The She-Devils
  • Faith Healer
  • Myra Breckinridge
  • Journal: The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Amy Zoe Mason
  • Rush to Judgment: A Critique of the Warren Commission's Inquiry into the Murder of President
  • Midnight Movie
  • Harold and Maude
  • Father of Frankenstein
  • Evil Sisters: The Threat of Female Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Culture
  • The Secret of Santa Vittoria
  • The Siege of Trencher's Farm
  • Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, "Rabbit Remembered"
  • Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her
  • Born on the Fourth of July
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
More about Judith Rossner...

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
    $15.95 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99
“When she was naked she generally found her body rather beautiful, although she could never in a million years have admitted this to anyone. In clothes, in front of other people, she felt ashamed of her weight, her sloppiness, always something, but it was more because of what she felt they saw when they looked at her. Now” 0 likes
“need to talk about my mother,” one of the women said. Her name was Susan. She was blond, very pretty, a stockbroker. Her mother was dying of cancer. “I have this horrible feeling of never having even known her. All my life, my father . . . was like a god to me. I worshipped him. I couldn’t understand why he ever married my mother. He was so special and she’s just . . . I always thought she was just this ordinary, everyday . . . I had no sense of her dignity, her nobility, really. She raised five kids and kept a house and gave him the support he needed and totally subjugated herself to him, to all of us, really, to our needs, and now when I think . . . She’s even” 0 likes
More quotes…