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We Think the World of You (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – January 31, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0940322264 ISBN-10: 0940322269

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (January 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940322269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940322264
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,603,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the heart of this offbeat, subtle comedy of class warfare is a lovingly detailed account of a man's attachment to his dog, a subject to which the late Ackerley ( My Dog Tulip ) was no stranger. Frank, a well-bred English servant, reluctantly agrees to take care of Evie after the pup's owner, shiftless, working-class Johnny, goes to jail for housebreaking. Frank has overweening contempt for Johnny's family: his pregnant wife Megan; their bratty kids; Johnny's cheerfully impudent mother, Millie; and Millie's fourth husband, Tom. As a tug-of-war develops over who is to take responsibility for the dog, murderous passions swirl around Evie, who turns out to have an intense emotional life of her own. Frank, the supercilious narrator, is engagingreminiscent of a haughty English butlerthough his snobbery becomes tiresome. Funny, touching and delightful, this long out-of-print novel (reissued to coincide with the release of a film version) is memorable for its sharp character portrayals and, above all, for its unabashed exploration of the love that unites human and pet.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This 1960 novel is Ackerly's only foray into the world of fiction. It tells the rather unusual story of a middle-aged civil servant who volunteers to look after a friend's dog while the man is serving a year-long prison sentence. Initially uncomfortable with the animal, he learns to love the dog and is loath to part with him as his friend's parole approaches. The twist is that the two men actually are lovers whose reunion is quite physical. This will appeal to both fans of animal stories and gay fiction.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
The fact that this book was ever allowed to go out of print is a disgrace -- thank goodness it is finally being reprinted. As a dissection of the English class system, as a "gay novel," as simply a piece of literature, it is one of the most brilliant and poignant and subtle and funny works of the late 20th century. This is the sort of elegantly written, in some ways understated book that gets called "a minor classic," but judging from the way it lingers in the mind, from the way it discombobulates one's thinking on any number of subjects (including the afore-mentioned class system and homosexuality), it may not be a minor classic but just a classic, period.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
I agree that "We Think the World of You" is brilliant, poignant, subtle, and funny, but would like to make the additional point that it is a stunning example of literary construction. It is widely admired for its construction, but what is not widely acknowledged is that the construction, like its brilliance, poignancy, subtlety, and funniness, is the product of a well trained and accomplished intellect. Ackerley took 12 years to write the book -- he had important ideas he wanted to express as effectively as possible, and the result is a very serious and rewarding novel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By wordtron on March 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's practically impossible to imagine a book like this being published in today's publishing atmosphere, but thankfully, NYRB is around to buck that trend. I mean what editor today would manage a straight face upon opening a proposal about a middle-aged gay man taking care of the irrepressible dog of his working-class lover who's in jail? But as usual, with any work of art -- craft, talent, intelligence, compassion -- this remarkable work is so much more than that. Around its droll premise, Ackerley found a way to brilliantly expose the pettiness of people, regardless (or precisely because) of their social standing. The dog, which is just as vividly alive as each of this novel's (bipedal) characters, is really only it's lovable catalyst. But finally, what makes this work astounding is how it slyly and assuredly gets funnier and funnier and more blackly though generously hilarious with each successive page. A real snicker of a book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on November 5, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It would be hard to make the case that WE THINK THE WORLD OF YOU is by any means a major work, but why should that lessen your fun? Ackerley's novel is very much a surprise in its relegation of its homoeroticism (dealt with very honestly and matter-of-factly) to the background; the protagonist's homosexuality is treated as simply a matter of course rather than as the center of concern, and what gets greater attention is his complicated relationship with his lover's family and dog.
The narrator himself is a terrific creation: sneaky, pompous, arrogant, and yet also somewhat likeable despite it all. And so too are the lover's parents and the dog herself--it all has the ring of reality about it. This is a minor delight, but a delight nonetheless.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David M. Giltinan on June 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
First published in 1960, this book is a delicious souffle, which J. R. Ackerley has whipped to perfection. It tells the hilarious story of the love triangle involving Frank, a buttoned-down civil servant, Johnny, the working class guy he's in love with, and the beautiful, headstrong Evie. As the story opens, Johnny has been sentenced to a year in jail for breaking and entering, and Frank is worried that this will give Johnny's pregnant wife, Megan, the chance to freeze him out of Johnny's life altogether.

But in the end it's the beautiful Evie that precipitates the final crisis, forcing Frank to go through some painful self-discovery along the way. Ackerley's tone is pitch-perfect throughout. An offbeat book that is completely hilarious.

Did I mention that Evie is a German shepherd?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This fantastic piece of high art just gets funnier and funnier and more blackly though generously hilarious with each successive page. Brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
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.
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