Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not George Washington, by P.G. Wodehouse

I've started in on the less-popular, early-career books of Wodehouse. Like I've written before (I think), they tend to have more raw emotion and less farce. Humor is still there, but at times it can not be the primary focus. Wooster and Blandings book end with the boy getting the girl because basic storytelling requires all loose ends to be tied up; early non-school Wodehouse is usually the story of the boy getting the girl, with humor thrown in.

Something I've noticed about early Wodehouse is that often the narrator changes mid-story, and the reader shouldn't really expect it to ever change back. With this book that's a little more understandable, since most sources will tell you that Wodehouse had a co-author (Herbert Westbrook). The first several chapters, from Margaret's point of view, are not that funny, and I don't know if it's true or not, but I assumed they were Westbrook's contribution. The rest of the book is narrated by Margaret's fiancée James (and a few chapters are narrated by friends of James).

Something else striking about this book is how unsympathetic James is. Margaret has her hopes pinned to marrying James, but then when James becomes the narrator, I found myself not really wanted Margaret to get stuck with such an oaf of a husband.

Lastly, I can find no plausible explanation for the title. And that's always a bit of a strike against a book, isn't it?

Rating: three and a half out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

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