The appeal of this book is that it was of its time (1960s) and it covers a situation that was familiar to so many people. When I read it, it reminded me so much of someone in my family that I pictured him as the main character.
In Britain and in the 60s, and before, it was not socially acceptable to have a baby out of wedlock. Women could not receive contraceptives unless they were married and therefore becoming pregnant was fairly common. The main issue was that, in working class families, the couple could not afford to fund their home and had to live with their parents. Ambitions were thwarted and led to disaffected young people.
This is what the story is about. A young man gets his girlfriend pregnant, they get married and move in with her parents. It is a difficult life for him and he realises that he does not have a lot in common with his new wife. Her parents resent him for what he has 'done' to their daughter. He is growing away from her romantically and intellectually and he feels trapped.
This novel is similar to many domestic or kitchen sink drama books and plays that appeared from the late 1950s depicting British working class life, such as Look Back in Anger (John Osborne), A Taste of Honey (Shelagh Delaney) and Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Allan Sillitoe). They consider serious issues of relationships, marriage, sex and pregnancy and the confining attitudes of the time.
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