Somehow I’ve now done two book related posts back-to-back. I can only say that it’s because I have been engrossed in books and writing lately so it’s mostly what’s on my mind these days. I am still coming off a superb literary high, finishing my last Wodehouse book for the year – Joy in the Morning, before I start on the summer reads. I just had to write a bit about my love for Wodehouse. It feels like each time I read a book of his that I love, I’m sure it’s my favourite until a few books later I find another one I REALLY love and then that’s the favourite, until… you get the picture. But this time, this time, I am positive this is it. This is The One.
Joy in the Morning was of course a Jeeves and Wooster classic adventure. Filled with all the usual shenanigans that you come to expect when reading a Wodehouse book, so it’s quite predictable. Quaint English countryside, check. Aunts, nephews, lovers and obnoxious authority figures, check. Obstacle standing in the way of a love match, check. Hilarious and delightful characters, check. Jeeves to the rescue and a very happy ending, oh yes, double check.
I love the predictability of his books because I know exactly what I’m getting into. Every time I feel like I want a laugh or something light with brilliant writing then it’s Wodehouse. And it never disappoints, even the books I don’t enjoy as much as others, are more because of the story and not the quality of the writing or lack of funniness.
What’s surprising is that there are many people who haven’t heard of him and I don’t know if this is because of the era he wrote in or because of his genre, comic fiction. I struggle to meet others who read humour, why is that? I think a person could spend a year reading Wodehouse, strictly, and come away with so much. For one thing, you will have an impressively jam-packed arsenal of vocabulary because he was extremely well-read and it shows in his writing. He was a genius at combining dynamite prose with various slang styles and jargon, creating some of the best sentences you will ever read and a string of amusing, original metaphors.
The dialogues are flowy and witty, the characters move quickly; I’ve never skipped a page in any of his books because nothing ever drags on – I personally hate when some writers go on for five pages about a setting or a person or whatever. The plots are light hearted but so well thought out and wound in other little webs of exciting sub-plots, all of which end just the way you want them too.If you’ve never read Wodehouse I’d recommend Joy in the Morning as the starter. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t enjoy it, practically impossible.
I’m going to end this post with some of my favourite excerpts from Joy in the morning:
‘’He drew me away from the counter, shielding it from my gaze with his person, like somebody tying to hide the body. ‘I wish you wouldn’t go spiking people in the backside with your umbrella,’ he said and one sensed a querulous note. ‘Gave me a nasty shock.’ I apologised gracefully, explaining that if you have an umbrella and are fortunate enough to catch an old acquaintance bending, you naturally do not let the opportunity slip.’’
‘’Stap my vitals, Stilton,’ I cried in uncontrollable amazement. ‘Why the fancy dress?’ He too had a question to ask. ‘What the hell are you doing here you bloodstained Wooster?’ I held up a hand, this was no time for side issues. ‘Why are you got up like a policeman?’
‘I am a policeman.’
‘When you say ‘’policeman’’,’ I queried, groping, ‘Do you mean ‘’policeman?’’
‘You’re a policeman?’ ‘
‘Yes blast you, are you deaf? I’m a policeman.’’
‘’What the devil do you mean, what’s all this? And who the devil are you to come trespassing in my grounds asking what’s all this? What’s all this yourself? What are you doing here, you great oaf? I suppose you’re just sauntering, too? Good God! I try to enjoy a quiet stroll in my garden and before I can so much as inhale a breath of fresh air I find it crawling with nephews and policeman.’’
‘’Uncle Percy appeared to be soliloquizing. ‘I trod on him! Trod on him! There he was, nestling in the grass, and I trod on him! It’s not enough that the fellow comes roaming my grounds uninvited at all hours of night. He comes also by day, and reclines in my personal grass. No keeping him out, apparently. He oozes into the place like oil.’’
Have I convinced you to love him too, yet?