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The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,098 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
To ever-loyal Kirby Winter, multimillionaire Uncle Omar left nothing--nothing but a gold watch and a sealed letter to be opened in one year. But Kirby is destined to inherit the magical power to freeze time itself--a power that could rock the entire universe.
Mass Market Paperback, Fawcett Gold Medal 12769-9, 207 pages
Published September 1985 by Ballantine Books (first published 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,663)
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Sandy
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Having never read anything previously by renowned author John D. MacDonald, I discovered his 1962 paperback "The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything" after reading about it in David Pringle's excellent overview volume "Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels." Writing about the novel in that volume, the British critic tells us that it is "an amusing romp," and MacDonald's "only full-length fantasy." There may perhaps be many readers who are surprised to hear of MacDonald being mentioned in the ...more
Truman32
Oct 08, 2015 Truman32 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

John D. MacDonald’s The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything is the hardboiled writer’s peculiar attempt at fantasy and humor.

Our story deals with Kirby Winter, the ineffectual namby-pamby whose Uncle Omar Krepps has just died. Krepps had accumulated an extensive fortune in a mysterious manner, but upon his passing left no money to Kirby. Instead he bequeathed only a gold watch and a mysterious letter to be opened in one year’s time.

The watch, Kirby eventually discovers, has the power to free
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 09, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I feel as though I should apologize for not liking this book. So many seem to really enjoy it... I've tried no less than 3 times to get into this book, and I just don't like it enough to put my time into it. It seems like an amazing idea, it seems as though it could/would make a fantastic read, straight or humerus. For some of you it seems it did. Not I'm sorry to say for me.

I've plowed into this book and I always come to the same conclusion about 30 pages in. Not worth it, a little annoying, an
...more
Scott Foshee
Interesting Idea, But Dated Female Characters Detract From the Fun

I had a hard time getting into this short novel, but once the hook kicked in about halfway through it proved to be a fun read. The female characters are a bit dated, but the book was originally published in 1962 when that kind of thing was more acceptable. Also as a southerner reading MacDonald’s feeble attempt at writing southern dialogue, I found that the dialect would be laughable if it wasn’t so annoying. It is interesting to
...more
Maurean
Mar 15, 2008 Maurean rated it liked it
The Girl- she was Bonnie Lee, the hillbilly beauty,and one morning Kirby woke to find her in his bed...

The Gold Watch -It seemed to have certain powers. For instance,when you touched the silver hand, the whole world changed...

And Everything -There was Charla, and Betsy Alden, and D.Leroy Wintermore, and the legacy of Omar Krepps, which left Kirby $27 million, and almost more trouble than he could handle...


This was actually a very entertaining little tale. The characters were endearing, the story
...more
Craig Pittman
Mar 01, 2016 Craig Pittman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I think of a John D. MacDonald book, what I think of is a sharp, penetrating look at crime and greed, usually set in Florida, often featuring interesting characters and sparkling dialogue. This book is set in Florida, features lots of crime and greed, and includes both interesting characters and sparkling dialogue -- but it's unlike any MacDonald book I've ever read, because it's not a gritty thriller but rather a delightful what-if fantasy.

Kirby Winter is a self-diagnosed ninny, a pushover
...more
Kathryn Flatt
Aug 22, 2011 Kathryn Flatt rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! A new twist on the messing around with time theme, too. The novel starts with a letter written after the end of the story. Then you get to find out how the initially wimpy Kirby ends up aligning with the events described in the letter. So many drolleries throughout.

This book kind of inspired me to write my own light and humorous adventure. Getting that published is high on my priority list after a couple of other pending projects are wrapped.
Dan Payment
Jul 24, 2009 Dan Payment rated it it was amazing
One of the most fun novels I've ever read. Had me giggling from the outset, and it's one of those I love to reread from time to time to pick up my mood.
Keith Gapinski
Feb 01, 2014 Keith Gapinski rated it it was amazing
Like a lot of people, I was first introduced to this story through the 1980s TV movie with Robert Hayes and Pam Dawber in it. I really liked the movie as a kid, so I grabbed the book and read it, and like that, too.

I just recently revisited the book, since it just came out for Kindle, and I still found it to be in my list of my favorite books of all time. The story is fun -- a male twist on a romance story, as Kirby bounces amongst a cast of women, trying to find one that doesn't thoroughly frig
...more
Violette Malan
Apr 21, 2016 Violette Malan rated it really liked it
I'm a big John D MacDonald fan and reread his books from time to time. I reread this one in order to write a post for Black Gate Magazine. It's delightful, and the only reason I don't give it five stars is that it's a bit dated.
Eric
Aug 25, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommended to Eric by: John
Shelves: owned
This book is the first John D. MacDonald I've read and I have to say, I like what I see so far. The story is fun, exciting, and the action doesn't get bogged down in non-important, tangential characters or anecdotes. In fact the lean, mean method of storytelling actually reminded of Mickey Spillane spy/crime stories about the '40s.

The characters, especially Kirby Winters, have excellent development. It's a lot of fun to see Kirby develop into the sort of ironic, mischievous person his Uncle Kre
...more
Ron
May 08, 2014 Ron rated it liked it
MacDonald's themes remain consistent--the need for men to be bold and decisive, but morally attuned to others, even the scummiest villains; the healing powers of robust, guilt-free sex; the understanding that value of money lies only in how it can help one use well the short time we have; the presence of people who don't know that, and just want money, and who have no moral qualms about hurting others to get it, and the need to fight those guys. Those are the truths by which Travis McGee lives, ...more
wally
Dec 29, 2014 wally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
28 dec 14, sunday morning, 5:07 a.m. e.s.t.
this is #16 from macdonald for me. just finished Price of Murder...an earlier story.

(1962) the girl, etc.
story begins:

dear fred,
you didn't tell me it was going to be easy. but you didn't tell me it was going to be like this. find kirby winter. bring him back. spare no expense. and you assigned me a good man to help out. at least huddleston used to be a good man. today you wouldn't know him. he stares into space and he sighs, and all i can get out of hi
...more
Sunny
May 11, 2014 Sunny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything" centers around Kirby Winters, a man who inherits from his rich uncle an antique watch and a sealed letter that cannot be opened until a year has passed. He quickly finds himself in a heap of trouble and has to rely on strangers and his wit to evade the dangers that present itself due to his inheritance.

A book with an uncle with a mysterious past, a nephew who inherits a watch that stops time, and a whole mess of characters and trouble sounded interesti
...more
Shuriu
Apr 06, 2015 Shuriu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Rome last year, he had desired the woman named Andy just as much, but there had been no flavor of happiness to it. And because it had made him wretched, it had distorted the desire into too significant a thing. So now something new had been discovered. Frustration bloated the role of sex, kept it in the center of the stage and gave it all the lines. It had stunted the other aspects of his life through its false importance. Release had suddenly put it in proper context. It was dwindled, and co ...more
Jack
Feb 17, 2016 Jack rated it it was amazing
An odd one for MacDonald: Sci-fi / fantasy. Wealthy magnate, Omar Krepps, passes away, worth about 50 million. His long-suffering 32-year-old nephew and gopher, Kirby Winter, inherits nothing but a pocket watch. What's worse is, he can't seem to score with the girls until he meets Charla. But things still don't go smoothly and Charla's niece, Betsy, tries to talk him out of working with her aunt. Then, those that ran his uncles empire seem to think he skimmed 27 million from their profits (the b ...more
Nick
Sep 01, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very different from most of John D MacDonald's work, this is a science fiction/comedy romp. I'm amazed that no one has made this into a theatrical movie [it was done as a made-for-television movie back in 1980:].
While heavy handed in spots, much of the story is a comedy of morality, and the ways in which power will test the limits of a person's soul. Dated, but still worth reading.
J.C.
Mar 19, 2009 J.C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun little fantasy novel from the Master. I love all his stuff and this was no different. Clever premise about a watch that stops time. If they didn't make this into a movie, they should.
Kirk Hanley
Jan 05, 2015 Kirk Hanley rated it liked it
I've been reading John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels and enjoying them a great deal. So when I saw this stand alone novel by MacDonald with an intriguing premise, I picked it up. I have to say I was a little disappointed. It has a lot of humor and a sympathetic protagonist, but the story really dragged. The "gold watch" of the title, isn't used for the first time until halfway through the book. And not a lot really happens in the book. It feels like this premise would have been more success ...more
Stephen King
Feb 22, 2016 Stephen King rated it really liked it
This is a book I read for the first time more than thirty years ago. It's always chancy going back to a book you loved when you were younger. Sometimes it's easy to be disappointed. But not this time. Though I found the book a little slow to get going, it's worth it when it does. This is a fun little romp, with a surprising moral core, most of which comes from my favourite character, the pragmatic, irrepressible Bonny Lee Beaumont. The character stayed with me all these years, with one of her mo ...more
Charles Adkinson
Mar 02, 2016 Charles Adkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I just loved this book. The biggest criticism I give it is that it was about 200 pages too short. I wanted twice the novel JDM gave me, at least. That being said, the story is sharp and complete, my complaint comes solely from the fact that I wanted to spend more time with the two main characters. My criticism of this book is like the petulance of that chick from Willy Wonka - I want more!

It had the same feel for me as Ken Grimwood's Replay or Ron Currie's Everything Matters!. One day I'm going
...more
Ben Hofmann
Apr 22, 2015 Ben Hofmann rated it liked it
This is my first John D. MacDonald book. Overall, the concept was good and was well written. However, for me it dragged at times, especially the first half of the book, where I wanted him to just discover the item so that the story could move forward. Also, I found the book to be a little over the top with the sexuality. It got to the point where I started to wonder if that was all the author could come up with. I would like to see what a more technical science fiction writer, like say Michael C ...more
David
Mar 28, 2014 David rated it it was ok
Well, that was a creepy product of it's time. I imagine that, had I read this when I was about 15, I would have been all over it. Now, however this is some creepy geek's fantasy. A book from the '60s about a geeky guy who inherits a watch that can stop time goes just about everywhere you'd expect it to. About the only thing missing is a skeezy Penthouse Forum opening.
Bruce Nordstrom
What can I say? I first read this book just after I graduated from high-school. It was the first John D, MacDonald I ever read. And I loved it. I've read it at least 6 or 10 times now, and each time it just gets better. This time was no different.

This is a great book, which is a little dated now, but seems to stand the passage of time well.
Shawn
Nov 20, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it
This wonderful little gem is not time travel per se but the ability to manipulate time. For Kirby Winters, who has served his whole life to his Uncle, it is quite the jolt when he dies. Not only does he not get any thing substantial in the multimillion dollar will but is on the hook for 27 million. Left with a watch and a letter he can't read for a year, Kirby is in all sorts of trouble. Yet the watch is the secret to everything, if Kirby can only figure out how and why.
David Macpherson
May 01, 2015 David Macpherson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The watch can stop time, people are after it, there are a lot of women taunting our silly hero. It is really well written, and just a tad bit sexist reading it in 2015. The last 30 pages do nothing for the book and that was a bummer, that kept it from being a perfect book.
Charlene Gordon
Aug 19, 2014 Charlene Gordon rated it it was amazing
I read this the first time in the mid-sixties and I loved it then. I read it again to about 30 years later and I think I enjoyed it even more. Maybe it's wishful thinking! I've thought many times in life that I'd love to have that watch! Pure popcorn for the brain but a joy to read.
Jenna
It's very funny! I can't believe that John D. McDonald was not only great at writing mysteries, but he was also good at being a fantasy writer. A very well-written book with twist and turned that will keep you reading his book, and much excitement was there too.

Omar Krepps worths 50 million dollars suddenly died, left his nephew Kirby a letter seald, and to read it after one year according to his Uncle Omar's lawyer Wintermore, and a gold pocket watch that has a magical power to freeze time.

Now,
...more
Robin Halvorson
Jul 15, 2014 Robin Halvorson rated it liked it
I first read this book 100 years ago or so and thought it was one of the world's greatest pieces of literature. It is amazing how the quality of it has dropped over the years. What was once a fantastic story now had to be endured.
Scout Sinclair Brody
May 15, 2014 Scout Sinclair Brody rated it it was ok
This book has a juvenile obsession with sex and describing women's bodies like objects. Neat premise of the watch, and pretty good set-up in terms of heros and antagonists, but targeted too heavily at under-confident teenage boys.
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John D. MacDonald was born in Sharon, Pa, and educated at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Syracuse and Harvard, where he took an MBA in 1939. During WW2, he rose to the rank of Colonel, and while serving in the Army and in the Far East, sent a short story to his wife for sale, successfully. After the war, he decided to try writing for a year, to see if he could make a living. Over 500 short stor ...more
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“O thank you, Uncle Omar. Thank you for instilling a helpless youth with such grave suspicions of women and all their works, that here and now, in my maturity, in my thirty-second year, I cannot confront a lovely and half-naked lady without getting cramps in my toes and saying gahr.” 1 likes
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