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Godspeed: A Novel

Godspeed: A Novel

5.0 3
by Lynn Breedlove

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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


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 in desperate search of the ultimate rush

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Critical praise for Godspeed:

Godspeed is an intensely smart and funny book...rendered in a prose that’s vibrant and in the moment as Kerouac’s ‘spontaneous bop prosody. Breedlove has talent coming out of her ears.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“I guess it wasn’t enough for Breedlove to front a stellar punk band, be a tireless activist, and inspire legions of girls – she just had to emerge as a great American writer as well.” – Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre

“The experience of reading Godspeed is almost enough to give you a contact high.” – Salon

“Lynn Breedlove has given the world a badly needed heroine – a sloppy punk –rock dyke superheroine with lots of angry smarts, a poetic heart, and a devastating sense of humor. If this book doesn’t make you want to go out and smash windows, there’s no life in you.” – Michelle Tea, author of Valencia and The Chelsea Girl Whistle

“Breedlove has crafted a wildly imaginative novel with a buzz-saw, nonjudgmental acuity about bending gender and thrashing music, about tender moments in a fierce life, and about growing up and learning how to love.” –Book Marks

Godspeed is the most important novel this side of Naked Lunch...You are looking at the twenty-first century’s first epic novel. This book runs strictly on diesel, and it is a ride you won’t want to miss!” –Judith “Jack” Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity

Publishers Weekly
This free-wheeling, fast-paced drug odysseythe speed-addled San Francisco doppelg%nger of Irvine Welsh's Trainspottingfeatures a butch female bike messenger named Jim, an all-girl punk band and the never-ending search for the rush that makes it all worthwhile. Jim's hardcore speed habit means she's headed nowhere fast; when forced to choose between drugs and the girl she loves, disaster and a cross-country road trip follow. Along the way, the reader is treated to a vivid portrait of a life in collapse, as well as poetic and seductive descriptions of the highs preceding this downfall. Jim's relationship with her stripper girlfriend, Ally, provides the story's emotional center and the arc of the protagonist's development. Amid a tornado of activity and attitude, the author builds a small oasis of honest and unvarnished emotion, constructing a touching and nuanced portrait of a boy who has not quite grown up. Jim rides fast and lives hard, yet somehow, beneath all the bravado and the crude drama, she retains an almost childlike innocence and purity of heart that radiates through the accumulated layers of grime and vice, carrying the reader through her darkest hours. The narrative can be gratingly autobiographical in tone at times, and the rushed, free-form style is occasionally a bit gimmicky, but this earnest debut is well worth the ride. (May) Forecast: Breedlove, chief singer and songwriter for the popular dyke-punk band Tribe 8, has a following already, and West Coast fans in particular (Tribe 8 is based in San Francisco) will be the sustaining readership for her debut novel. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Breedlove's debut novel should be required reading for any teenager who thinks that the drug world is glamorous. Godspeed follows the trail of its heroine, Jim, a butch-lesbian and punk-rock fan who spends most of her waking hours trying to score her next high while supporting herself as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco. The story centers on Jim's breakup with her girlfriend, Ally, who finally tires of sending Jim out with money for food only to hear from her a day later when the money has been spent on drugs. After getting fired from just about every bike messenger job in the city, Jim goes on tour as a roadie with a punk-rock band, spending most of her time dreaming about patching things up with Ally but remaining captive to her addiction. Written in the dialect of the punk world, this novel might be difficult at first for the uninitiated, but after a few pages it takes the reader on a fascinating if cautionary tour of some of the seamiest places of the drug underworld. Recommended for large public libraries. Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran punkrocker Breedlove debuts in print with the story of-surprise-a punkrocker looking for love but finding only sex in a sub-America chock-full of "hags." "Jim" is a lesbian punkrocker and a druggie bike messenger in San Francisco. She's "a regular Major Tom, an Annie Oakley who rides all day and shoots all night." We follow her here through apparently random and inconsequential events, drug-trips, happenstance encounters with people who have names like Eurobabe, Diamonds, Ally Cat, Pez, Smash, Devastaysha, and The Despondent One. These encounters trigger memories that are just as random and happenstance but that detail Jim's life as that of a person is far more confident and far less confused than she ought to be. She watches friends turn tricks, delivers lots of unprompted drug-shooting advice, visits her own rundown flat, recounts her latest run-in with the police, dreams about being a man, has a number of affairs with fellow hags, dumpster dines, has a lip pierced, and eventually travels cross-country with a band called Hostile Mucous, driving with the group to LA, New Orleans, Florida, New England, and New York for lots more sex in bathrooms, ever more speed trips, and the occasional riff on love in a modern America. Breedlove writes with the glee of a child giddy over seeing her face on the screen or her name in print; it's literature as a game of dress-up. She is actually best at the simple, quiet, yet harrowing moments of life that she actively avoids in favor of hackneyed drug pyrotechnics. What emerges is an anti-story whose main riddle is whether what is happening is actually happening or whether it's all an orgiastic drug fantasy that devalues the plot we non-hags aresuspected of craving. An attempt at a sub-subgenre of clit lit where women hate being women but love women and hate them at the same time. But it won't work until it gets real.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.95(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.75(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Lynn Breedlove has been touring and recording for the last decade as singer and songwriter of all-female punk band Tribe 8. She has been featured in Rolling Stone, Spin, and OUT, among other magazines. Breedlove lives in San Francisco, California.

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Godspeed 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Raw, gritty, and energtic prose capture your attention from page one. You're sucked into Jim's world, and you stay enthralled. "Godspeed" is like no other novel out there today. This book tells a tale from the other side of the lesbian community; a side that some would wish to sweep delicately under the proverbial rug. In a world where everyone is trying to be p.c. and some things are still taboo, "Godspeed" kicks down the barriers and relates to those who still feel outside the "gay/lesbian norm".
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every moment I wasn't pouring over this wonderful novel, I wanted to be. Jim makes you want to slap him upside the head and mother him with warm bowls of soup at the same time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Breedlove's first novel is pure genius--funny, sad, and always real. It breathlessly follows the exploits of Jim, a butch bike messenger, as she keeps on doing her woman wrong and keeps on getting high. Jim's in love and screwing up big time, and something's gotta give--but it's going to take a while. And along the way there are drug deals to be made, sexy pouting punkrock femmes simply throwing themselves at her, awesomely loud chick bands for which she gets to roadie, squatter boy allies with whom she can fight The Man, and a whole lot more. This is a totally exhilarating read. Kirkus Reviews needs to get someone with a clue to start reviewing books like this, 'cause it doesn't get any realer!