Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kipps” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  712 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
A hilarious tale of one man’s struggle for self improvement and a witty satire of pretension

Orphaned at an early age, raised by his aunt and uncle, and apprenticed for seven years to a draper, Artie Kipps is stunned to discover upon reading a newspaper advertisement that he is the grandson of a wealthy gentleman - and the inheritor of his fortune. Thrown dramatically into
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 26th 2005 by Penguin Classics (first published 1905)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 06, 2017 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of wealth, manners, society, etiquette, class and social mobility, money, inequality and aspiration…

Whilst initially not seeming light years away from Alfred Polly, the character and story of Arthur Kipps turns out to be something quite, quite different.

Again there are echoes of Dickens here (see Great Expectations in particular) to an extent his style, narrative and in attempting to address and examine socio-economic issues – but what we have here is something that (the very pro
Nov 09, 2013 Issicratea rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 1900-1950
I read this book for a very specific reason, which will not be of relevance to too many readers—I have just bought an apartment in Folkestone, where Kipps is set, and I was curious to read an account of it in its brief late-Victorian moment of glory. Kipps didn’t disappoint on that front. Wells portrays Folkestone quite vividly, as a wealthy, showy, brittle, snobbish, look-at-me resort town, contrasted with humbler Hythe, where the protagonist feels more at home.

This parochial interest aside, I
Aug 25, 2015 Alexandra rated it liked it
Bis zum Ende bin ich nicht warmgeworden mit dem Buch, obwohl die Story durchaus nicht unspannend ist. Artie Kipps aus der Unterschicht erbt unverhofft sehr viel Geld und wird dadurch automatisch irgendwie zum Mitglied der besseren Gesellschaft, ohne wirklich dazuzugehören.

Die Sprache des Romans ist extrem geschraubt und gestelzt, kein Wunder das Buch ist ja schon sehr alt, aber es ist mehr als das - das Parlieren in der guten englischen Gentlemen-Gesellschaft und der damit einhergehende Sprachs
Katie Lumsden
Jul 10, 2016 Katie Lumsden rated it really liked it
A really interesting examination of class and culture in the late 19th century, with great characterisation and moments of humour and poignancy. It has a touch of Great Expectations about it and is definitely my favourite HG Wells so far.
I wound up thoroughly enjoying the second half of _Kipps_, where Wells stops his merciless mockery of the eponymous anti-hero and begins instead to poke fun at himself. Favorite lines include Kipps's enthusiastic determination to set himself up as a bookseller because all books are the same -- "If you don't like one book, you take up another; it's not something that really matters, like print dresses or serviettes."
Rachel Pieters
Apr 03, 2016 Rachel Pieters rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, classic
In actuality, I stopped reading around page 50. I'm an H.G. Wells fan, and grabbed this without reading the description, because the book could have been about anything and I would have tried it. BUT, this book was just. so. boring.

I wanted to like it, but nothing happened, not really, just endless paragraphs of narration about this boring guy named Kipps. About his childhood, in which nothing really happens. And then of his schooling, where nothing really happens either. On page 22 there's an
Pauline McGonagle
Jul 03, 2016 Pauline McGonagle rated it liked it
not sure about hilarious- but it has some funny moments. The attempt at accents is a bit clumsy and it comes across as very dated.
I did read it for local interest as well as to see what HG Wells wrote outside science fiction.
It did show how much class is less defined than it was in the past but in many ways its is just as hierarchical and divided.
Feb 23, 2013 Joshua rated it it was ok
This book had its high points, but by and large I found the story rather unremarkable and extremely boring. I don't think it was terrible, Wells is a talented author after all, but this book just wasn't for me.
Sep 24, 2008 Mark marked it as to-read
Described in a recent roundup in the Wall Street Journal as one of the five best British books on class distinctions.
Samantha Glasser
Jun 28, 2012 Samantha Glasser marked it as to-read
Read this book for free through Project Gutenberg:
Dec 09, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
Kipps might be seen as an Edwardian rewrite of Great Expectations. Even its titular hero has a name that bears a slight resemblance to that of Pip, the narrator of Dickens’ Victorian classic novel.

We have lost some of that perspective because the period that separates Kipps from us is considerably longer than the period which separated Kipps from Great Expectations. To us the world portrayed in one book has more in common with the era of the other than it does to our age. However, there are upd
Jul 19, 2017 JefferyK rated it liked it
Well, about 20 pages into it, I can tell that this is going to be like the other non-science fiction Wells novels I have read: Some interesting bits about class buried under poor style and plotting. Reviewers who say "Kipps" is boring may be reacting to the fact that Wells is hard to follow. There is no forward motion in his writing, and his sentences can be long and convoluted. As far as his class commentary goes, I am never quite sure whose side Wells is on -- I mean, is he standing up for som ...more
Jul 10, 2017 Jonathan rated it really liked it
A real pleasure to read after struggling through some pretentious modern literature - plot! Characters! Wisdom! Very Dickensian in its affectionate depiction of working class life but without being cloying, there was a nice touch of Wodehouse about it at times. My first wells book and certainly not the last.
Jan 04, 2013 Umang rated it really liked it
Initially the book unfolds more or less like "The Great Expectations". The book gets funnier with Kipps entering adolescence and trying to make a mark among the ladies

There was a funny conversation between Kipps and Chitterlow. The funniest part was the conversation with Kipps reaching his drinking capacity and realizing, Chitterlow is a gut. The plot unfolds with Kipps getting hint of his family members in a news paper.

Kipps inherits fortune and is now in a different and strange world.

The recen
Jan 22, 2017 Richard rated it really liked it
I read this as I had been to see the new production of Half A Sixpence and wanted to read the source material. It is really interesting to read it and see which parts have been taken out from all versions of the musical and additionally which parts have been put into the new version. I thoroughly enjoyed the musical and enjoyed most of the novel.
I had only ever read the science fiction works of Wells so this was a big change. It is a real insight into the turn of the century period and I feel I
Alan Wells
Sep 27, 2013 Alan Wells rated it really liked it
On the surface this may seem like a satiric and stilted tale of an "everyman", but as I took it in and reflected on the story, it seems more a deeply personal journey in reaching some level of self-actualization amidst confusing and overbearing social pressures. Set around the early 20th century in Great Britain, Arthur Kipps experiences the everyday challenges of boredom and the relentless tortures of social expectations as he's growing up, and as a young man faces the harsh realities of barely ...more
بسام عبد العزيز
كرهت بشدة محاولات كيبس المستمرة للالتصاق بتلك الطبقة الغنية المرفهة بأي شكل!
كيبس كان شابا فقيرا و لكن هبطتت عليه ثروة "من السماء كما يقولون" و كل ما فكر فيه هو أن يكون داخل تلك "الطبقة الإجتماعية العليا" .. فهو قد أصبح غنيا مثلهم. .أليس كذلك؟!
هذا التفكير الذي يجبره على محاولة تغيير كل شيء فيه.. عاداته.. لبسه.. معارفه.. و حتى طريقة نطقه للحروف حتى يكون ملائما للوسط الإجتماعي الجديد..
طوال أحداث الرواية كرهت تلك الشخصية جدا .. لماذا تصر على هذا؟ أنك تعيش بشكل جيد بما يكفي! لديك العائلة و الأصدقاء
Sergiu Pobereznic
Jun 10, 2015 Sergiu Pobereznic rated it really liked it
This is a book about a normal working man that was born into the world as a love child, lived with his aunt and became a draper. He suddenly finds himself in possession of wealth and has to adjust his regular behaviour to become a GENTLEMAN leading to some unusual circumstances. But then he later realizes that it is best to be yourself. It is a classic Rags to riches and Rags to riches again.
It is not a serious novel or at least it doesn't take itself seriously.
Wells is a witty writer and build
Sep 18, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wells without si-fi

After rereading the Time Machine and War of the Worlds, I came away with the uncomfortable impression that Wells could tell a good story but his ability to depict a decent relationship was lacking. The clumsy relationships in those books are cursory and ill defined. I turned to Kipps as I know the musical Half A Sixpence was based on it and it was very relationally based. Kipps showd that wells can write about relationships with sensitivity and depth and even though he is conc
Oct 20, 2013 John rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
HGW is pitiless in his portrayal of the emptiness of contemporary middle class pretension. This compares with honest "what you see is what you get" socialism.

Arthur Kipps gets off to a bad start. He's a "love child" passed on to an aunt and uncle to rear and then apprentice to the drudgery of the Drapery trade. His luck improves however when he gets rich quick but then must learn how to behave "proper" -ie as a "gentleman". He makes a dogs breakfast of it. Artie is a silly little rich boy/man an
Feb 21, 2016 Paula rated it it was ok
I was reading about the musical “Half a Sixpence” (I don’t remember why) and found that it was based on this novel. I thought the book would be worth a read. Turns out, not so much. Kind of a slog, riddled with impenetrable turn-of-the-20th-Century British slang and lots of dropped aitches. I found myself having to go back and read certain passages because I wasn't quite sure what had just happened. But I still would like to see “Half a Sixpence” one day, because the bare bones of the story prob ...more
Yerbulan Akhmetov
Apr 01, 2014 Yerbulan Akhmetov rated it it was amazing
The only Wells novel I have read and it's not even a science fiction.

As I mentioned, I haven't read any other of his works, but I think this one has a lot in common with them, even though it is not a science fiction.

In essence, it is still a story of a usual man who finds himself in a very unusual situation.
DNF with Jack Mack
Dec 28, 2015 DNF with Jack Mack rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Wolf
Jan 16, 2013 Amy Wolf rated it really liked it
A wonderful little book you hardly expect from sf master H.G. Wells. But the saga of Arthur Kipps in (I believe) Edwardian England really lets us into the life of a working man. The film Half A Sixpence with Tommy Steele was based on this.
Mary Smith
Feb 23, 2013 Mary Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: family
Half a Sixpence, Paramount musical is based on this book
Sep 23, 2011 Walaa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-owned, novels
هناك قول أن هذه الرواية سيرة ذاتية للكاتب
رواية عادية زيادة عن اللزوم ..
Interesting in a 1905 sort of way.
Billy Young
Feb 10, 2008 Billy Young rated it it was amazing
Wonderful tale made better by the fact that Half a' Sixpence was base on it. It is through Well's non sci fi works that you see how great an author he really was.
Sep 06, 2011 Minnawii rated it it was ok
the boring stories they make you study at school.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers
  • Kidnapped and Catriona
  • Sketches by Boz
  • The American Senator
  • Dance of Demons (Greyhawk: Gord the Rogue, #5)
  • The Price of Power (Greyhawk Adventures #4)
  • Tales of Mystery & the Macabre
  • The Secret People
  • Will You Always Love Me? and Other Stories
  • The Coral Island
  • Tom Brown's Schooldays
  • Aurora Floyd
  • Maid In Waiting
  • Mrs Craddock
  • Witch Wood
  • Perempuan Rumah Kenangan
In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government schol ...more
More about H.G. Wells...

Share This Book

“Room to swing a cat, it seemed was absolutely essential. It was an infrequent but indispensable operation.” 12 likes
“The bookshop of Kipps is on the left-hand side of the Hythe High Street coming from Folkestone, between the yard of the livery stable and the shop-window full of old silver and such like things—it is quite easy to find—and there you may see him for yourself and speak to him and buy this book of him if you like. He has it in stock, I know. Very delicately I've seen to that. His name is not Kipps, of course, you must understand that, but everything else is exactly as I have told you. You can talk to him about books, about politics, about going to Boulogne, about life, and the ups and downs of life. Perhaps he will quote you Buggins—from whom, by the bye, one can now buy everything a gentleman's wardrobe should contain at the little shop in Rendezvous Street, Folkestone. If you are fortunate to find Kipps in a good mood he may even let you know how he inherited a fortune "once." "Run froo it," he'll say with a not unhappy smile. "Got another afterwards—speckylating in plays. Needn't keep this shop if I didn't like. But it's something to do."...

Or he may be even more intimate. "I seen some things," he said to me once. "Raver! Life! Why! once I—I 'loped! I did—reely!"

(Of course you will not tell Kipps that he is "Kipps," or that I have put him in this book. He does not know. And you know, one never knows how people are going to take that sort of thing. I am an old and trusted customer now, and for many amiable reasons I should prefer that things remained exactly on their present footing.)”
More quotes…