Going Down [NOOK Book]

Overview

National Bestseller

“A funny, sad, nasty little gem of a novel.”—Jay McInerney


In bestselling author Jennifer Belle’s debut novel, Going Down, Belle introduces readers to Bennington Bloom, a coed working her way through college. As a call girl.


With a sharp eye for satire and a keen comic sense, Belle chronicles nineteen-year-old Bennington’s high-pressure adventures. ...

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Going Down

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Overview

National Bestseller

“A funny, sad, nasty little gem of a novel.”—Jay McInerney


In bestselling author Jennifer Belle’s debut novel, Going Down, Belle introduces readers to Bennington Bloom, a coed working her way through college. As a call girl.


With a sharp eye for satire and a keen comic sense, Belle chronicles nineteen-year-old Bennington’s high-pressure adventures. Stuck with an ulcer, a father who loves his dog like a daughter, a shrink who is hard of hearing, and New York University tuition to worry about, she's working overtime to keep it all together and doing what she can to survive. Spending the night in an abandoned hotel pool, punching pushy old women on the subway, Bennington is at an all-time low, and things are only going down from there.


A witty take on making it in the city, Going Down showcases Jennifer Belle’s unerring gift for capturing the absurdities of day-to-day life. Funny and intelligent with an endearingly skewed take on life, Belle is the real thing.

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Editorial Reviews

Dwight Garner

The odds are probably stacked against Jennifer Belle's Going Down, a punk-picaresque first novel that Riverhead is slipping into bookstores as a summertime paperback original. For one thing, it comes adorned with blurbs from three writers (Jay McInerney, Tama Janowitz, Quentin Crisp) that may scare away all but the hardiest souls. For another, if there's one thing the culture doesn't need right now it's another tragicomic saga about a good-hearted call-girl. And if that's not enough, Belle -- a 27-year-old editor at a literary magazine called Mudfish -- saddles her protagonist with a name that shouldn't have gotten past the book's first edit: Bennington Bloom.

All that said, Going Down has a bright, engaged, bracing tone that keeps you turning the pages. The plot isn't complex: Bennington is an NYU undergrad who, on the brink of financial and emotional collapse and with no help forthcoming from her addled family, spies an escort ervice ad in the Village Voice and quickly finds herself leading a frantic double life. ("I felt self-conscious with my nipples showing through my Laura Ashley dress and my beeper going off in my coat pocket," she cracks early in the book. "It didn't fit with my story about being a paralegal.")

As Going Down progresses, it not only picks up a rueful, feminized kind of grace -- Bennington is shrewd about where she wants life to take her, and Belle doesn't condemn either her or her odd assortment of clients -- but the details are never less than exact. "New York is a convenient city to go crazy in," Bennington notes after a particularly manic day, while scanning the teeming life in Washington Square Park. "You can always stop and have a diet Pepsi with a malfunctioning straw." While never prurient, she is just as exact about her on-the-job routine: "Afterwards, I always say, 'You've got a great body.' Or if there is no way that is plausible, I say, 'You've got great hair,' and if even that's stretching it, I say, 'I love your mustache,' or 'Your skin is so soft.' Sometimes I just say, 'Nice apartment.'"

Going Down closes as its narrator is struggling toward a kind of escape, emotional if no other kind. At the same time, you feel Belle's narrative gifts working their way toward the surface, too. She's got a way to go, but she's worth watching. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Belle combines very funny, sharply written prose and a superb grasp of narrative in her debut novel. At the center of it all is her unforgettable main character, Bennington Bloom, a 19-year-old who goes to work as a call girl in high-class New York City brothels to put herself through NYU. This is no hooker with a heart of gold. She's better. The arresting combination of her caustic wit and insightful observations make for a wickedly hilarious sense of humor evoking Dorothy Parker. This is keenest when she's in bed with the men who are paying her for sex; to focus her mind elsewhere, she calculates how much money she's making. She's not about to take anything seriously: her dysfunctional family, her ridiculous acting classes, her stress-induced ulcer, her wayward friends, her intensely type-A boyfriend or, least of all, herself. Even in her moments of intense self-pity when she's confessing to her deaf, senile shrink, she can stand far enough away to laugh, or at least smirk. Things do faze her but, true to her restless nature, never for long. With tight prose and precise detail, Belle transforms the perverse into the absurd and tempers it with an empathy that prevents the book from becoming mean or crude. Belle's riotous, vivid debut has the energy and gritty appeal of New York City itself.
Library Journal
Bennington Bloom is a 19-year-old acting student at New York Univeristy in search of a part-time job. Answering an ad in the Village Voice for "coeds" leads her into a life as a high-paid call girl. In a light, no-nonsense, humorous voice, Bennington describes her sexual experiences, her adventures with eccentric friends, and her distant father. She becomes so hooked on the easy money she makes as a prostitute that when she finds a decent man and moves in with him, she can't give it up. Instead, she invents a job for herself as a caterer to explain her frequent evening absences, which leads to heartbreak and humiliation when the truth is discovered. While Belle is clearly a writer to watch, having crafted a first novel that is compulsively readable, her characters are so shallow that in the end the reader is left with nothing substantial to remember. Recommended for adventurous readers.-Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
June Vigor
When NYU drama major Bennington Bloom beds down at the bottom of an empty swimming pool following a fight with her roommate, she figures there's nowhere to go but up. For a while, it seems she might be right. An impulsive call placed to an escort service advertised in the back of the Village Voice leads to easy money, adoring male attention, and a surrogate family in the form of a madam, Holly, and her husband. Even though Bennington's life as a hooker soon becomes an endless grind of long hours and emotional isolation that takes a heavy toll on her mental and physical health, she can't stop--she's gotten used to the money. Now all this may sound horribly depressing, but Belle's sharply observed characters and keen sense of the absurd mold movie-of-the-week material into a raw, funny, and compelling slice-of-life. Some of the dialogue is priceless, particularly in the scenes of working girls killing time between tricks.
Kirkus Reviews
A pleasing frolic on dangerous ground, this debut from Belle features a ditzy NYU coed's yearlong misadventures as a novice hooker, spiraling downward while she imagines herself on the road to better things.

Abandoned by her professor daddy so that he can make a life with his new wife, shunned by a thieving roommate for her lack of enthusiasm over his spoils, Bennington Bloom is lovely but homeless as her 19th birthday nears. On a whim, she contacts an escort service and is hired on the spot, beginning her hands-on education as a working girl. Busy enough to take her mind off her troubles, she buys expensive treats while trying to save enough for tuition, but when the owner of the service becomes paranoid and dumps her, Bennington turns to a brothel. Having to juggle her clients at Blanche's, acting classes, more roommate problems, and ongoing parental neglect, she seeks counseling, but because her therapist is 80 and partly deaf, the two can't communicate. Bennington barely escapes from a raid at Blanche's, then leaves when management wants to tax her earnings. An encounter with a painter friend (who has filled an East Village church with images of her, as a saint, as Mary Magdalen, even as one of the wise men) takes her to Martha's Vineyard for much needed R&R; she meets the hunk Adam on a whale- watching cruise and before long has moved into his Manhattan apartment. Telling him she does catering, Bennington goes back to work, but in time her man learns her true calling and dumps her, too. She searches the city for love, wandering the streets in a paralyzing snowstorm, until she finds new hope on a nearly abandoned subway platform.

Though finely detailed, and appealing in its madcap manner, this flurried portrait of city hustles and heartbreaks offers only a limited, eviscerated view of the perils of a life on the make.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101551189
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 534,000
  • File size: 363 KB

Meet the Author

Jennifer Belle


Jennifer Belle is the bestselling author of Going Down (for which she was named best debut novelist of the year by Entertainment Weekly), High Maintenance, and Little Stalker. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Independent (London), Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Ms., Black Book, Mudfish, and many anthologies. She lives in New York City and Olivebridge, New York, with her husband and their two sons.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 10, 2009

    Great book

    I love Belle's off beat sense of humor. I loved this book, couldn't put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2006

    Very Very Bad

    It is extremely boring, it has racist remarks and the ending seemed like it was written in a rush. There is a very disgusting part in this book that i thought was unecessary.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    Gritty

    I was sometimes shocked by the things in this book (she slept in a drained out pool??, she brought bums to her apartment and let them shower??) but then wished she would've gone into more detail about her job (wink, wink). This book had me fascinated and could not put it down. I read it in one sitting!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2002

    Going Down rises to the top

    This is a very entertaining read on many levels. Anyone who has lived in New York City will enjoy the lurid scenery of Belle's writing. The story itself is very fresh and real, illicting both laughs and sighs from the reader. The book reads quickly and I found it difficult to put down. It is a gritty, urban adventure to say the least.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2002

    Read the Reviews ....

    before you buy this book. I found the character delightful, but the premise very sad and pathetic. The author writes with wonderful wit and realism for life in NYC, but I found the book somewhat depressing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2001

    i know this girl....

    I know a girl in NYC that Bennington might as well be, and it hurt my heart to read the book and remember her. If you never knew 'her', this book will make you wish you did. I read it in one sitting, it's that good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    I Couldn't Put it Down!!!

    This book is awesome! Its funny, sad, happy, everything...such a fun read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

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