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1. Alfie
2. Doing It

1. Alfie
by Bill Naughton
 Audio Cassette: Pages (2002-01-31)
list price: US$14.76 -- used & new: US$18.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1901768708
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"I ve got this dark little lump of cold grief or something over my heart. It could, of course, be wind."And thats Alfie really. Never one to take himself, or anything else for that matter, too seriously. He'll never say no to a woman and he'll even let them stay the night, as long as they cook breakfast of course and as long as they never, ever, ask when he'll be back. But these things are never that simple, even if Alfie likes to pretend they are. There's meek little Annie, who's almost got him "poncified"; Ruby, a bit old but in fabulous condition and then the less said about Lily the better. But Alfie doesn't do complicated. He loves, he leaves and when he occasionally wrestles with his conscience, he always wins. Well, almost always. . .With sales of over a million copies since its first publication in 1966, Alfie is a controversial modern classic. The inspiration for the cult film starring Michael Caine and the smash-hit remake with Jude Law as the eponymous anti-hero, Alfie feels as fresh and relevant today as when it was first published. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars AlfieWaste of time and paper
The nicest thing that I can say about this book is that it is a quick read. The main character, Alfie is a womanizing, abusive, egotistical,despisable man. He is every man you warn the women you love to stay away from. He hurts the married women that he dates (okay, they are cheating, so they deserve it)but he hurts innocents (Annie)too. None of the charcters are likeable - the woman are either stupid, cheaters, or weak. I found the book to be shallow and am very glad to be done with it.

4-0 out of 5 stars RACHAEL-ALFIE

Imagine a handsome, sweet-talking, English accented gentleman that sparks your attention by his charming smile, and sexy laugh.That is Alfie to a tee.Every woman wants him, and every man wants to be him. Written by Bill Naughton, Alfie is a four star rated book, and maintains the readers curiosity.Naughton's goal for writing this novel was to show the impact of little things done by men to make women feel loved and worthy of themselves.This novel inspires romance, makes guys look like pigs, and teaches major life lessons within the context of the story.
Alfie has a unique way of being romantic; he loves all women, no matter what shape or size.Being polite and charming to women is second natured to Alfie.He enjoys cuddling with them, dancing with them, taking them out to breakfast in the morning, and out for coffee during their lunch break.Spontaneously stopping by his ladies' place, to shower them with compliments and flirtatious gestures, until the next moment the women are begging for a relationship, after he pleasures them with things that their husbands are not giving them, and that the other men in town will not take the time of day to do for these women.He is a listener, a supporter, a friend, and an intimate companion, which most women want.Reading about Alfie's life filled with many women, and beauty is inspiring to one to become more romantic in their own life, and encourage love and contentment for themselves and loved ones.While many of the situations with the each woman and Alfie is indeed interesting, some may feel that it may be too much material to cover in a novel that should be focused more on the message of the book.
Some have short attention spans, while others have very long attention spans.Reading Alfie, some people may, or may not become bored with the back and forth pattern of the stories and situations of each of his relationships.At the beginning of the book, the stories draw the reader in immediately, but by the middle towards the end of the book, the pace starts to slow down, and it seems that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.The ending is sort of abrupt, and does not seem fulfilling after the reader has patiently waited to hear the moral of the story. Although it is nice to see Alfie trying to include as many women as possible, he does not always make them happy.
Trying to please everyone is a nice thing to do, until trying to please them backfires into hurting themselves, or others without being aware of the consequences.Alfie impregnates one of the women and has to face life-altering changes in his life aside from the more dramatic changes the woman has to go through.All of the sudden, the baby needs quiet time to sleep, patience and a lot of energy by the parents, and a constant watch over the child at the time.Simple time away from the house turns into a hard escape to get out of the house.Suddenly, using birth control is considered a little more carefully.More responsibilities, and less going out to party are now new concepts. Figuring out the life must go on, and that people must mature and grow up from always having fun, to becoming more responsible and make better choices that involve choosing things that may not be a personal choice, but according to priorities, the better choice to make.
Alfie is a wonderful novel to experience and apply to our own lives.We can use the charm and love for people that Alfie has, and incorporate them into our everyday habits and lives.However, along with learning to love, comes learning to make wiser decisions, and find the grown-up in us that must take over the place of our inner child personalities in order to live successfully and happy.Reading this novel is a great opportunity to evaluate our own lives and help determine alterations that may need to be adjusted in some areas.Pick up your copy of Alfie today, to learn some important lessons and enhance your romantic personality, and add color to your reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bill Naughton's, Alfie.
I have read the book by Bill Naughton and seen both of the films and i think they are all very good. I thought the recent film starring Jude Law was unfairly criticised. Alfie is the story of a young womaniser who always thinks he has the best end of the deal, concerning his relationships with women. He loves his life, and he appears very happy and content. But what becomes apparent is that Alfie is quite a tragic and lonely character. He sums up the whole story himself when he says "without peace of mind, you have nothing, and i haven't" I think the story is really good, on the surface it appears this is just a story of a womaniser but as you read on you realize there is much more to it than it seems. ... Read more

2. Doing It
Audio CD: Pages (2004-06-08)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$2.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807223875
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Dino, Jon, and Ben have each got problems--a girlfriend who won't put out, a girlfriend who won't give up, and a predatory teacher . . . just for starters.Award-winning author Melvin Burgess has written a daringly honest and often hilarious account of contemporary teenage life, and the ups and downs that surround DOING IT.Amazon.com Review
Melvin Burgess, author of Smack, has written what is potentially the most controversial young adult novel ever. Doing It is an honest and funny book about three teenage British boys learning about themselves and life through their sexual experiences. But here's the catch: the story is told from the point of view of the hormone-sodden young males, naughty bits and all.

Gorgeous Dino thinks that equally gorgeous Allie should realize that they belong together and is puzzled and frustrated when their passionate lovemaking always ends with her refusing him. Jonathan fancies sensible, sexy Deborah but can't admit it to his friends, even after several steamy grope sessions, because she is…well…plump. And Ben is living every teenage boy's dream, an affair with a lusty teacher--but somehow it's getting to be too much of a good thing.

Nearly all YA novels about love and sexuality are told by and for girls, like Judy Blume's groundbreaking classic, Forever. The contrast here is striking--as Burgess said in an interview, "I wrote Doing It because I do believe that we have let young men down very badly in terms of the kinds of books written for them. This book is my go at trying to bring young male sexual culture into writing." The result is surprising but educational for female readers. Wisely, the publisher has kept the British slang terms for sexual acts and body parts, rather than using the American four-letter words, a factor that will make the book less of a hot potato for librarians and teachers, but not diminish the reading pleasure for the inevitable hordes of young male readers. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brought me back to HS!
I found this book incredibly funny and it really brought me back to High School. My childhood best friend gave me the book last year and I finally got a chance to read it this holiday weekend and I couldn't put it down. It was a funny, lighthearted, easy read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Raunchy yet Incredibly Fun
Let me preface this by saying - this book was incredibly awkward to read in public (as in, while in the break room at work) due to not only the title, but also the content. Regardless of said awkwardness, Doing It is a really fun read and almost too realistic at times.

Meet Dino, Jonathon and Ben - three juniors in high school. Like most 17 year old boys, they only have one thing on their mind - sex. Dino, a stock male who knows he looks good, likes Jackie - the hottest girl in school. Jackie, however, is so over high school boys and their immature ways - that is, until curiosity gets the best of her. Jonathon is good friends with Deborah, a sweet girl in his class, and that's it, he'll diligently remind you. Because Deborah, you see, is a bit overweight, so clearly he'll never be caught with her. That is, of course, until things get a bit crazy at a house party. And Ben - Ben has a secret of his own, one that can't get out, because if it does it'll ruin not just his life, but the life of the other person involved as well. The other female involved. The other older female who may be crazy involved. And thus starts Doing It, a book that follows the three boys through highs and lows, parties and breakups, mistakes and take backs. And, ultimately, through them not quite becoming mature enough to be men, but getting exactly what they're after.

Doing It isn't for the faint of heart - as the title suggests, it's rather racy and very graphic. But, that just adds to its charm, in a way. Melvin Burgess has a way of writing these private moments in incredibly raw and blunt ways. Just like guys are. As an author, he doesn't hold back. He wants it to be like you're in a locker room overhearing these three guys talk about girls. It's truthful. And because of that, clearly, as a female, I hated all three of them.

Okay, not really hated - they all had their charm, which, again, was what I really liked about the book. For instance, Dino is awful. He's the alpha; he's chauvinistic around women and macho around his friends. He's the most graphic of the bunch, constantly making sexual innuendoes and judging every girl by her looks (which, most 17 year old guys do). However, he's also sensitive. As he learns that his parents are having marital problems, you see a different side of him - the real side he hides from his friends. And although I thought the marital problems subplot was pointless at first, I realized how important it really was. It was necessarily in order to develop Dino's character, bring life to it. Jonathon keeps battling with himself regarding Deborah. Should he like her because she's great, or should he not because his friends think she's fat. And Ben, well, Ben learns that thinking with your brain is a bit smarter than thinking with...other body parts. In the end, he was my favorite character. He was smart, helpful.

What I liked most was that the end didn't bring magic and happiness. Sure, some characters changed for the better - learning from their situations, but some ended up right where they started. And that's what usually happens, doesn't it?

I liked Doing It because it really was a realistic portrayal of high school - how horrid it truly is at times. And the British slang (as Burgess is a British writer), just made it better. It's a book that should be given to high school guys, although I'm sure many teachers might disagree. Sure, there are graphic sexual scenes and horrid language, but there's also a bit of heart. And sometimes, guys really need that (heart, that is).

2-0 out of 5 stars Way too British for most American teens
I teach English/Reading in high school and thought that this would appeal to high school boys.After reading it...probably not.First of all, they would have to ask me to translate the British slang literally every other page.The teen boy humor isn't funny to a 15 year old if you aren't familiar with the terms "shag" or "fag" (not the homosexual type.Perhaps, there's an off chance that they've watched the original "The Office" or "The Spy who Shagged Me" with Austin Powers but otherwise, it's just all lost on them.Most of the book is a bunch of adolescent boys talking about sex, not actually having it.Fairly harmless.

2-0 out of 5 stars Laddish Lit for the YA Set
According to Burgess, he wrote this, his third YA (young adult) book because, "I do believe that we have let young men down very badly in terms of the kinds of books written for them. This book is my go at trying to bring young male sexual culture into writing." I'm not sure I really buy the premise that teenage boys are lacking in representations of their "sexual culture," it may just be that they are located in film (from Porky's to American Pie to Superbad) rather than books. I'm pretty sure that one could make the reverse statement about teenage girls and film -- but whatever the case, one thing I have noticed as a casual reader of teen lit is that over the last ten years,YA authors and publishers have been increasingly heading for edgier and more controversial terrain.

This story definitely fits that mold, as it revolves around the sex lives of three 17-year-old boys in England and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to graphic language or description (albeit in British slang that American parents may not find as objectionable). It's not exactly breaking news that teenage boys are obsessed with sex, and what Burgess does here is try to give expression to that. While it does succeed in fits and starts, the story is more notable for how boring it generally is, and how soap-operaish the plotlines are, than it is for breaking any kind of new ground. The first 1/4 to 1/3 of the book is especially tedious as Burgess labors to set up Dino (incredibly handsome and dating the school babe), Ben (apparently hapless with the girls, but secretly having crazy sex with a 20-something drama teacher), and Jon (the loudmouth with a crush on a slightly chubby girl). After this tedious setup, the book finally gets going as Dino encounters increasing frustration in his attempt to lose his virginity, Ben encounters increasing distress as his secret sex life, and Jon encounters increasing distress as his attraction to the chubby girl.

Unfortunately there's just not that much that's interesting. Gee, guys have anxieties about sex too? Shocking! Guys talk and joke about sex all the time in great detail? Shocking! I guess it's nice that the main characters express a range of attitudes, from Dino's extreme horndog duplicity to Ben's implausibly maturity, to Jon's aching obsession with how others will perceive his relationship with chubby Debbie. Similarly, the women evoke a range of sexuality, from pretty Jackie's on-again, off-again desire to "do it" with Dino, to Debbie's good-natured good-time attitude, to the teacher's sick emotional and physical manipulation, to a fourth girl's utilitarian attitude. But too many of the characters sounds too much alike, and like many YA books, they are generally a touch too self-aware to be realistic.

Ultimately, the book just isn't interesting or good enough to warrant the controversy it seems to have sparked (at least in England). Perhaps the most telling verdict is that it was the basis for an ABC teen series that lasted all of one year.

3-0 out of 5 stars Does it do it? It does... but not for quite a while.
Melvin Burgess, Doing It (Henry Holt, 2004)

It took me two hundred seventy-nine days to read Doing It. While that's not a record overall, it's a record for any book that I've finished since 1999. (I plugged away at both Steven Rushforth's Pinkerton's Sister and Brian D'Amato's Beauty for longer--in the latter case, much longer--before finally defenestrating them.) The funny thing is, I read the final three-quarters of it in the space of a week; it just takes a long, long, long time to get going.

The story chronicles a year in the life of three friends, Dino, Ben, and Jonathon, in their quest to get laid. Dino has the hots for Jackie, the most desirable girl in school. Jackie is seeing someone else, but is flattered by Dino's attention. Ben is in the enviable (to everyone else) position of shagging the comely drama teacher, but has to keep it a secret from even his best mates. Jonathon, on the other hand, feels like a fifth wheel. Until, that is, the big party Dino throws at which to finally land Jackie... where everything goes *** over teakettle.

It's the party where everything takes off, Burgess hits his stride, and the words start flowing. The lead-up to it, though, which is roughly the first seventy-five pages of the book, is painfully slow, even for obvious setup. I probably wouldn't blame you if you gave up during those seventy-five pages, but if you're contemplating a book-burning, I'll ask you to give it one more chance, because it really does get easier on the eyes once you get farther in. *** ... Read more

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