ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow: Review

Updated on June 29, 2015
A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow
A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow | Source

1960 - and England was changing

A Kind of Loving was published in 1960 - a time when English society was undergoing a huge change. Until that time,the arts and entertainment were largely under the control of the wealthier elements in society but Stan Barstow, along with others, was bringing the working people to the fore.

My customer, Mrs Barstow

When I had my health food store in Yorkshire, I had a regular customer called Mrs Barstow. She's been coming in and buying healthy breakfast cereal and other goodies for several months before I realized that her husband was the Stan Barstow, the author. I'd read several of his books and loved the fact that I had a 'celebrity' customer, even if it was by proxy.

The swinging sixties

The 'ordinary' working man was coming into his own. A good example is the Beatles. These weren't upper-class oiks with posh accents and boarding school backgrounds. They had strong regional accents, had been educated at the local schools and, in other words, were 'ordinary people'. The sixties might have been swinging away in London, but not in the north in those days.

Groundbreaking

This is why A Kind of Loving, along with other books of the 'kitchen sink' genre, were so groundbreaking - they concerned ordinary people doing ordinary things, written in what was referred to at the time as gritty and unsentimental. Often, they were set in northern England, as this book is, which was unusual at the time because everything (allegedly) happened in the south, especially London.

Social snapshot

This book is interesting to us today as it shows a slice of ordinary life in an ordinary town during a period of time most of us can't remember. As such, it's fascinating in itself but the story of an ordinary young man, his love life, his marriage and its problems are equally so.

England in the early sixties. It's a bit scary to think that I was alive in those days, really. Was everything really all in black and white? That's how it must seen to people today when they see the movies and news footage from that time.

The video you'll see below is from the film that was made based on the book in 1962. Note the rows of terraced houses, along with bare patches of ground - probably created by bombing during the Second World War.

See laundry handing out in the fresh air. Not many people had driers in those days. These were days when kids could play in the streets, the days when locals women would gather around a church to get a glimpse of a bride in her finery.

Doesn't it seem like another world?

The cover of the first edition of 'A Kind of Loving'.
The cover of the first edition of 'A Kind of Loving'. | Source

You could say that novels like these were almost the forerunner of reality TV. They showed life as it really was. For some readers, this book showed lives that until they read the book, they had no idea that this type of person - or situation- really happened.

For those readers, it was like eavesdropping into the lives of others and seeing a side of life and society that was normally not available to them.

For others, it was only too real. But for those people it was a relief to know that their lives counted too - that someone wrote about them.

Vic, the young man around whom the book centres, is aiming to improve his life by being the first in his family to be a non-manual worker.

In his office, he meets a young woman (you saw her in the first video) named Ingrid. They embark upon a relationship. Like many relationships in those days, Ingrid has her eyes on marriage whereas it's the furthest thing from Vic's mind.

In a situation that was all too familiar in those days, Ingrid gets her wish when she becomes pregnant and Vic offers to marry her.

That was quite commonplace in those days.

The problem really begins when they find themselves in a situation that was also very common - that of finding somewhere to live. Many young married couples in those days started their married lives living with their in-laws and that's exactly what happens to Vic.

You can see in the video below that this wasn't plain sailing...

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Colin323: Absolutely true Colin, and how lucky you are to have a signed first edition. I hope that a new generation of readers 'discover' this book because it is a true classic and a time stamp showing a time of great social change.

    • profile image

      Colin323 

      5 years ago

      Great book, great film. I have a signed first edition, which I would never sell. A quintessentially British story in every respect.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)