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Take a Girl Like You (Patrick Standish and Jenny Bunn #1)

3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  539 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
A virgin's progress amid orgy and seduction. When attractive little Jenny Bunn comes south to teach, she falls in with Patrick Standish, a schoolmaster, and all the rakes and rogues of a provincial "Hell Fire Club".
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 29th 1976 by Penguin Books (first published 1960)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,091)
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 22, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Modern Fiction)
Shelves: 501, humour, british, comedy
My first time to read a book written by Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) who was an English comic novelist. He is the father of Martin Amis (born 1949) whose books I have not tried too. I thought I should start with the father and so after finishing this book I can now line up the son's 1001 books such as "Money", "London Fields", "Time's Arrow" and "The Information." Well, I should also try to read in between other 1001 books by the father such as "Lucky Jim", "The Green Man", "Jake's Thing" and "The ...more
Craig
Jan 23, 2008 Craig rated it really liked it
Amis is very good at creating sympathetic characters that are still right bastards.
Se84
May 08, 2010 Se84 rated it really liked it
It's not always pretty when Amis is on about women (The Russian Girl and Stanley and the Women are both sort of ridiculous), but the unelaborated kneejerk conclusion that his handling of the date rape here must therefore be problematic is just asinine. That it was more or less inevitable in this story doesn't mean Amis is excusing it. And in the broader context of the conflict between Jenny's "provincial" morality and Patrick's more "cosmopolitan" outlook, it's clear that while most of Amis's he ...more
Patrick Brown
Jul 25, 2007 Patrick Brown rated it did not like it
I love Kingsley Amis, but this book is vile. His sexism -- simmering under the surface in much of his writing -- is on full display here, culminating in what today we would call a date rape. Skip this and read The Old Devils...or just read Lucky Jim again.
Ian
Aug 16, 2015 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, audible
This is a story about getting a girl into bed who’s holding on to her virginity (really her principles) when just about everyone else in 1960s England is giving up theirs at the first opportunity.
Amis handles this with a surprisingly light touch. If Jenny knew too well what she was waiting for, it would have been hard to sympathize with her or like her. The fact that she doesn’t really know, but doesn’t want to do anything that she can’t take back is just a charming aspect of her youth. What we
...more
will
Mar 24, 2014 will rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My least favorite Amis so far. The book is filled with too topical cultural satire, difficult to appreciate without having experienced 1960s Britain. Although I recognize that the ending is intended to be depressing and bitingly critical of prevailing society, it still struck me as, SPOILER ALERT, rape apologetics. This one is too cynical, even for me.

I will mention, however, that Amis has an ability to capture drunkenness and associated effects that is unsurpassed.
Esther
Jan 22, 2009 Esther rated it it was ok
Father of Martin, of whom I'm a big fan so decided to delve into the family archive and try a Kingsley. Read Lucky Jim years ago which was funny, this one not so much. Very much of its time with girls worrying about virginity, boys smoking and being cads 'trying it on', lots of gin and cricket matches etc. Funny in parts, but ultimately didn't really care about any of the characters and found myself skim reading sections of long descriptions of hangovers....
annelise
Aug 07, 2012 annelise rated it it was ok
Some lines made me laugh out loud but the ending completely ruined the book. Patrick is the most loathsome character.
Cath
Nov 04, 2014 Cath rated it it was ok
Very old-fashioned. I would have given up except for the beauty of the writing.
George
Mar 15, 2016 George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Documented as a personal favorite of Kingsley Amis, Take a Girl Like You, originally published in 1960, is peopled with subsidiary characters, ranging from the posh and pedantic to the proletarian and pessimistic. These characters, with names like Julian Ormerod or Dick Thompson, mildly stimulate most scenes with their eccentricity, such as at meals or an impromptu shooting competition.

One of the larger problems is that Amis’s prose is constricted by realism. This is the inclination of what Rub
...more
Edwin Lang
May 02, 2014 Edwin Lang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014

I liked Jenny Bunn from the start. Through the story she exuded a certain something, an innocence and a sense of humour that appealed to me. I found I couldn’t wait, for her sake, the sexual revolution of the mid 1960s, just so that she – in her 30’s - could break the bounds imposed of her by the Patrick Standish.

Kingsley Amis described Patrick for what he was, a Master of Arts, and a cad, frequently a counterfeit, someone that a fairly liberated woman, or a hard one, once said of him ‘you’ll ma
...more
Clint
Sep 18, 2010 Clint rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
I was going to give it four stars, but the more I think about it, the funnier it gets, and I'm going to go ahead and give it five. Nothing escapes Kingsley Amis and his wicked sense of humor, and this story was just begging for someone like him to tell it: a sheltered hot virgin moves into a shitty town nearer London with lots of teachers hanging around being various shades of asshole, a fake French woman into socialism and coming onto girls, etc etc, everything Kingsley Amis would normally skew ...more
Tom Ireland
Dec 14, 2010 Tom Ireland rated it did not like it
The worst thing I can say about it is that there is hardly anything I want to say about it. Since I began this blog, I have been marking things to mention as I read. This time I marked two things. Once, I simply wrote 'tedious' in the margin. The other time was to mark one of Amis' hilarious and pitch-perfect sentences.

These sentences are what made me stifle giggles all through Lucky Jim. Unfortunately, they are noticeable chiefly by their rarity in this novel. The one I marked was as good as an
...more
Lisa
May 24, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Come on Jenny, don't settle! AARGH, maybe it's a sign of the times. This was the first audio book I have ever listened and I have mixed feelings about it. I did find my mind wandering at times especially during the Patrick being a jerk stages, which is a fair bit. Nevertheless it is an o.k. book, Patrick's a cad, Jenny's a good girl. It doesn't seem like it's a new story so I'm not sure why it's a "must read". And maybe it's a symptom of the 50s or Amis' mysogyny but Jenny ends up doing the exac ...more
Lynn
Jul 08, 2011 Lynn rated it really liked it
This seemed less sexist to me than Lucky Jim. The characters are trapped in sexist patterns of behavior, but the main female character (evidently the "girl like you" of the title) is a real, fleshed out character, flawed but sympathetic. She is not just a ball-buster/cock-tease like all the female characters in Lucky Jim, although she is sometimes that as well. She endures much harassment and many indignities which were presented humorously, but to me it was more of a satire on the mores that gi ...more
Mike Ingram
Jul 06, 2009 Mike Ingram rated it liked it
Best read with a gin and tonic. Funny, pleasantly dated, like an odd little time capsule. Most of the men are pretty unlikeable, though at times it's hard to tell if the writer sees them as completely unlikeable? But I'm choosing to not psychoanalyze Kingsley Amis's attitudes toward women, partly by pretending the very end happened differently, because to me the end was really depressing but in a way that maybe wasn't meant to be depressing, which is, perhaps, even more depressing?
Annelies
Nov 26, 2014 Annelies rated it liked it
I liked it a lot better the first time I read it, a long time ago. Did I not see the ending the same way I do now? At the time I think it seemed like virginity in their relationship was something to get out of the way, so they could get to liking each other for other reasons. Now, and I see that most people view it that way, it reads like date rape. The ratings do reflect that ambiguity, they are really all over the place. On to Lucky Jim.
Lucy
May 02, 2013 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really warm to any of the characters, nor did I think much of the plot (or the ending! Jeebus!) but I really enjoyed this nevertheless, the writing was brilliant and made me laugh out loud a lot - particularly the chicken that tasted like a damp tea towel. Also, from now on I'm going to divide people into the two categories of 'smashers' and 'duds'.
Erocchio
Oct 01, 2013 Erocchio rated it it was ok
This author is not one of my favorites but I keep reading him to see why he was so popular. He is very wordy and this story is just too long. I couldn't feel for any of the characters which is what happened in The Anti-Death League. Oh well, I'm done reading Kingsley's books.
Doug
Jan 27, 2010 Doug rated it really liked it
Quite well done, albeit with a few loose ends plot-wise. The writing is superb, especially when putting a character's viewpoint in deadpan contrast with reality. A sly romp of a sex comedy as well as a sharply observed snapshot of England circa 1960.
Jeanius
Apr 27, 2014 Jeanius rated it it was ok
This book, in my opinion is not one of Kingsley Amis's best. A bit shallow, but his turn of phrase can be very amusing. Of its time (late 1950's) so plenty of male chauvanism in the mix, not to mention class 'issues'.
A B
Maybe this book was considered "shocking" when it first came out, but it's really just 300+ pages of fluff and then date rape. I did enjoy the occasional British humor. So there, I said something nice.
Tim
Jan 21, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it
One of Amis's more moving and very funny novels, his third (or fourth?). Made into a movie with Hayley Mills (!).
Linden
Oct 01, 2015 Linden rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of its time - 1960. Amis is certainly funny and I enjoyed it for that. Did not like the ending.
Lucy Aughney
Such a strange ending...
LindyLouMac
Sep 12, 2011 LindyLouMac rated it liked it
Read in 1986
Lehtomaki
Mar 12, 2016 Lehtomaki rated it did not like it
Shelves: toread-2016
Fiction
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Jul 19, 2016
Colinlarkin
Colinlarkin rated it liked it
Jul 17, 2016
Yuki
Yuki marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2016
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Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE, was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than twenty novels, three collections of poetry, short stories, radio and television scripts, and books of social and literary criticism. He fathered the English novelist Martin Amis.

Kingsley Amis was born in Clapham, Wandsworth, Couty of London (now South London), England, the son of William Robert A
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More about Kingsley Amis...

Other Books in the Series

Patrick Standish and Jenny Bunn (2 books)
  • Difficulties with Girls

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