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We Think the World of You by J. R. Ackerley

We Think the World of You (original 1960; edition 1980)

by J. R. Ackerley

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277740,824 (3.66)23
Title:We Think the World of You
Authors:J. R. Ackerley
Info:The Bodley Head Ltd (1980), Edition: New impression, Hardcover, 160 pages
Collections:ALL FICTION READ-OWNED & UNOWNED, Your library- read
Tags:wh smith award, read in 2013, *GB literature, 1960s, 20th century literature, MUM-LENT

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We Think The World of You by J. R. Ackerley (1960)


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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
'a fairy story for adults'
By sally tarbox on 8 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Absolute gem of a book set in London just after World War 2.
Middle class Frank is visiting his lover, Johnny, as he begins a year in prison. From the start we feel Frank is being used; he ends up helping out Johnny's unpleasant wife and children. As he visits Johnny's parents, he begins to get concerned about his friend's dog, Evie, which has been billetted on them, along with one of the children. The tension in the book as he tries to get custody of the poor animal which is kept inside for weeks at a time and beaten becomes almost unbearable. Although members of the family often utter the refrain 'we think the world of her', Johnny later observes:

'She guessed, as I now did, what that world amounted to, and that what he had just done for us...was the most she would ever get, and that she could not count even on that.'

A quick read (155 pages) but absolutely unputdownable. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
A dog. A man enthralled. A pioneer in the world of power manifesting itself as indistinguishable from the mundane. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is the story of Frank, a well-bred, middle-aged civil servant who lusts after Johnny, a married, poorly educated working class young man who occasionally gets on the wrong side of the law. When Johnny is sent to jail for a year, Frank gets caught in a struggle with Johnny's wife and parents for custody of Johnny's dog Evie. This is obviously a humorous book, and although there are undercurrents of class warfare and gay rights, the focus is on Evie, an irresistible character who steals the show. This is a quick read, and one I fully recommend. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Sep 30, 2015 |
Unless you really love dogs, you will hate this book. All of the characters, including the dog, are mean-spirited narcissists. ( )
  andyg227 | Aug 30, 2015 |
This tightly-written novel is Frank's story of his younger working class male lover (imprisoned for housebreaking when the story begins in London), the lover's family (wife, children, parents) and an Alsatian dog who drives the action. Yes, the dog, anthropomorphized, is the real protagonist. She is beautiful, loving, jealous and oh so willful. Originally the property of the young lover, and looked after during his imprisonment by his mom and stepfather, Frank becomes enamored of the dog and plots to gain her, which he does, and loses the lover.

Although fiction, the book takes much nourishment from its author's life. J. R. Ackerley was a minor figure in twentieth century British letters: the editor of the BBC magazine, "The Listener." Like Frank, he was gay, unmarried and found sexual fulfillment with young, working class lads. The greatest love of Ackerley's life, however, became his dog, who gets a book to herself in Ackerley's small oeuvre - "My Dog Tulip."

Ackerley's sexual escapades provided him no lasting relationships, he tells us in his posthumously published memoir, "My Father and Myself." He found such friendship with his dog. His memoir says his dog years "were the happiest of my life." Fictionalized, the dog years seem somewhat sadder. Frank says, "Advancing age has only intensified her jealousy. I have lost all my old friends, they fear her and look at me with pity or contempt. We live entirely alone. Unless with her I can never go away. I can scarcely call my soul my own. Not that I am complaining, oh no, yet sometimes as we sit and my mind wanders back to the past, to my youthful ambtions and the freedom and independence I used to enjoy, I wonder what in the world happened to me and how it all came about . . . but that leads me into deep waters, too deep for fathoming. It leads me into the darkness of my own mind."

The power of the book is the absolute believability of the love between man and dog, which is trenchantly described.
  bbrad | Sep 21, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. R. Ackerleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Furbank, P.N.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my sister Nancy, with love and gratitude.
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Johnny wept when I was taken down to visit him.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0940322269, Paperback)

This powerful short novel, with its extraordinary mixture of acute social realism and dark fantasy, was described by J. R. Ackerley himself as "a fairy tale for adults." Frank, the narrator, is a middle-aged civil servant, intelligent, acerbic, self-righteous, angry. He is in love with Johnny, a young, married, working-class man with a sweetly easy-going nature. When Johnny is sent to prison for committing a petty theft, Frank gets caught up in a struggle with Johnny's wife and parents for access to him. Their struggle finds a strange focus in Johnny's dog—a beautiful but neglected German shepherd named Evie. And it is she, in the end, who becomes the improbable and undeniable guardian of Frank's inner world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:22 -0400)

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NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 0940322269, 1590173953

Voland Edizioni

An edition of this book was published by Voland Edizioni.

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