Kenneth Roberts in the Saturday Evening Post: “I Like Girls With Simple Tastes”


“The Saturday Evening Post,” June 27, 1936 edition.


Finding a Kenneth Roberts book presents a challenge for his fans in the 21st century. Though some publishers have published reprints of his more well-known works (Northwest Passage and Arundel, for instance), the bulk of Roberts’ published works can be found only on dusty bookshelves of antique stores, used bookstores, or flea markets. Even then, one mostly finds a greater number of reader club editions or reprints as opposed to first editions or copies of his lesser-known works (Trending Into Maine; Florida Loafing; Good Maine Food, etc.). Thus, the hunt for Kenneth Roberts’ books is either frustrating (good finds are few and far between) or rewarding (an unexpected find or a successful buy after a long hunt).

I experienced an exhilarating find a couple of days ago while on vacation in my hometown in the great state of Louisiana. My wife and I were in the antique district of town (while my parents watch our girls, giving my wife and I the freedom to take our time!) when I visited a shop known for carrying copies of The Saturday Evening Post. Before I continue, allow me to make a brief aside here…in addition to finding first editions or rare copies of Roberts’ books, finding any copies of The Saturday Evening Post can be difficult. Roberts wrote quite a bit for the Post, but my searches have found that most shops carry old copies of Life, but very little by way of the Post.  Another annoyance. I digress.

As I searched through the collection of Saturday Evening Post copies – all from 1936 – I stumbled across an issue from June 27, 1936 (pictured). Lo and behold, Kenneth Roberts’ piece was the featured article. To make my day even better, the store owner had a 50% sale on all Post issues. I excitedly rummaged through the remaining issues hoping to find more featuring Roberts, but had only found the one (one unfortunate reason for this is that the store owner had every issue individually sealed in a plastic cover, so I could not look through each issue to see if any of them contained smaller works by Roberts). Nevertheless, I was very excited for this most excellent find!

Roberts’ featured piece is titled “I Like Girls With Simple Tastes.” Now, I don’t consider myself an expert of Kenneth Roberts, but in all the years that I’ve been searching for anything Roberts and all the reading that I’ve done on him, I never recall coming across this particular title. So, in addition to finding a Saturday Evening Post containing a piece from Roberts, I also found something that I had never read of Roberts! Double win!

Roberts’ “I Like Girls With Simple Tastes” is a reaction piece to the “sophisticated” girls of the 1930s – pretentious, “high-maintenance” women. Written in classic-Roberts style, Roberts questions whether these particular women even truly know what “sophistication” is, painting them in an unfavorable light. Roberts’ personality is on full display in this piece as he leaves no one in doubt of his opinions and preferences.

Before one can write of “I Like Girls With Simple Tastes” as “typical Roberts cantankerousness,” the June 27, 1936 issue of the Post provides on the very last page an explanation behind the purpose for Roberts’ piece. One discovers that Roberts did not just decide to write his piece merely to voice his complaints; rather, he wrote in response to a piece by a “sophisticated” woman in a previous Post issue.

So, what will follow in the next few days is a summary of Roberts’ “I Like Girls With Simple Tastes,” followed by a post providing the reasons behind this piece. Stay posted!


3 Responses

  1. I have first editions of all his books. Found them in a Salvation Army in LA. He was a privileged and crusty conservative who would be a tea party member if alive today.

    • You found them in a Salvation Army?!? Now that is a steal! Where in Louisiana were you?

      I like your assessment of Roberts’ political views; I’ve often thought about what he would be today if he were still alive; I think you are correct about the Tea Party.

      Thanks for sharing!

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