Friday, September 07, 2012

Friday's Forgotten Books, September 7, 2012

Ed is away this week. We will all miss his contribution.









Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Judith Rossner

This was a shocking book when I read it in 1975. It was a best seller then and it would probably be one today. We are still shocked by women who need to take chances, who seek out danger-- for this is a story of a woman's search for the degradation she feels she deserves.

Mr. Goodbar" is based loosely on the actual case of a Roseann Quinn, a quite, rigidly brought-up, Catholic schoolteacher, who was wholly unremarkable except that she sought out her sexual partners in New York singles bars. The last of them bashed in her skull on New Year's Day, 1973.

Roseann Quinn becomes Theresa Dunn in the novel and we follow her from her dreadful childhood into adult life. Her fate is one we can hardly bear to watch yet can't tear our eyes from. She is intelligent, attractive but she still must throw herself at the most disreputable men she attracts in the seediest bar.

It was one of Dianne Keaton's most effective movies a few years later. This is about as noir as it gets. Terrific writing, a compelling plot.

Here are some more suggestions.

Sergio Angelini
Yvette Banek
Brian Busby
Bill Crider
Martin Edwards
Kurt Evans
Jerry House
Nick Jones
George Kelley
Margot Kinberg
B.V. Lawson
Evan Lewis
Steve Lewis
Todd Mason
Neer
J.F. Norris
James Reasoner
Gerard Saylor
Ron Scheer
Michael Slind
Kerrie Smith
Kevin Tipple
Prashant Trikannad


17 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've long intended to read this but never have. Never even saw the movie. I should try to watch that too.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I've only ever seen the movie but it's been a very long time. Not sure it's even on DVD ... Certainly remember it as very provocative, on which ever side of the socio-political sprectrun you come from. There is somethign a bit Old Testament about the shock ending (I'm assuming the book is the same as the film in this regard?)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yep. But probably more brutal viewed rather than read.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the book and movie, Patti. I read it in 1975 too. Sergio, yes.

Jeff M.

John said...

Been very busy the past week, but I've pulled something interesting from my old reading files for this week. Here it is:
The Vampire of N'Gobi by Ridgwell Cullum

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, John. Remember this is optional activity and you can skip a week when you need/want to.

Todd Mason said...

Sure, Patti...I...I can kick the FFB anytime I want...only, you see...I have this kitty on my typing table...(well, I do. Intermittent reinforcement, no less...I only throw Niki off when I have a lot of typing or she's being particularly obstreperous...she gets down by herself when it's time to go wrestle with the tom Domino or the foolish ape simply won't stop caressing the black plastic bed that clicks when you roll on it...)

Ron Scheer said...

I recall the movie as disturbing, especially the way it teases the audience with false alarms and red herrings. Keaton also didn't seem quite right for the part after ANNIE HALL. The identity of her killer would surely get some pushback from LGBT folks today.

Yvette said...

I'll be contributing later, Patti. As usual I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! So said the rabbit and so say I.

Working hard though, even as we speak.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Todd, I didn't understand a word of that. It's that kind of morning though.

Yvette said...

I'm all set, Patti. For when you get a free moment. :)

Deb said...

Ron beat me to the comment I was going to make: the murderer is a man disturbed by his own sexual orientation so he takes out his hostility on a woman...as if heterosexual men never do that. I don't think (thankfully) that such a cheap out if an ending would be accepted today.

Todd Mason said...

Hmm...given the experience of Woody Allen, perhaps that set her up for playing the role of victim in GOODBAR...and it didn't take too long for the gay-bashing of the likes of THE DETECTIVE and GOODBAR to finally get called on the carpet in re CRUISING...there's an early Rossner story in a book I've been meaning to read and FFB for a while now...

I can see my previous comment is not quite Joycean...perhaps Kitty on My Typing Table in the place of Monkey on My Back helps a little...

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think she is underestimated as a dramatic actress. And perhaps overestimated as a comic one beyond the Annie Hall shrugs, jerks, grimaces.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I like to think it is more that she is putting herself in such situations because of her own trauma. He's not what the story is about really. Although it would never go today and why the movie is probably a lost one.

Jack Bates said...

Wow. I just read this Slate article before I came across your post. Interesting read: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2012/06/girls_and_sex_once_more_looking_for_mr_goodbar_.html

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Jack. A really interesting piece.