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Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

book cover of Lucky Jim

I understand that this book is supposed to be enormously influential, inspiring a large amount of British satire of class stratification… and yet… I feel like by now, it’s been done so much better so many times that this just isn’t that good. I didn’t even get a laugh out of it…

The characterisation of the female characters, in particular, bugged the crap out of me. It seemed like Dixon, the protagonist, didn’t have anything to think about them except for what they looked like, and how irritating he found Margaret’s emotional instability. There weren’t really any times he seemed to enjoy the company of either of them or have any of those really good conversations you have with people you’re attracted to. His entire thought process just seemed to be, “WOW Christine is hot and I hate her boyfriend, I hope I can steal her away from him!! also Margaret is ugly and crazy, blech.” I ended up not liking him much at all. I also wasn’t a fan of the scene at the end that came almost out of nowhere to cast Margaret in a really nasty light. I don’t even think the revelations of that scene were in character for her. I just did not like it.

The rest of the book is okay. You have a lot of elitist upper-class academic types being skewered, which is always alright. I liked seeing Bertrand get his comeuppance. But the book as a whole just left a sour taste in my mouth.

★★

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.