Friday, January 9, 2015

Frozen Assets by P. G. Wodehouse


My first book for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015!!  I wanted to start out the year with a fun, quick read, and I have several unread books by P. G. Wodehouse on the TBR shelves -- just the thing.

Many people are familiar with the works of Wodehouse because of his most famous characters, Jeeves and Wooster, and the brilliant BBC adaptation starring Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as the hapless Bertie Wooster.  No Jeeves and Wooster in this book, but it's classic Wodehouse -- basically, a screwball comedy.  It starts out with a very funny scene in which Jerry Shoesmith, a young English journalist, is trying to report a lost wallet at a Paris police station.  The French policeman, who loves bureacracy, decides to make things difficult for poor Jerry, whose keys were also in the wallet, so he can't get back to his uncle's apartment for the night.  However, all is not lost, because Jerry runs into the beautiful Kay Christopher, an American whom he met on a ship a couple of years ago.  She's at the police station reporting the absence of her brother Edmund, also known as Biff.

Lo and behold, Biff has absconded back to London to avoid the French police.  It seems Biff has a tendency to get drunk and assault policemen.  However, back in London, he discovers that he's become a millionaire overnight, since his eccentric godfather has passed away and left him a fortune -- with strings attached.  It seems Biff has to stay out of trouble until his 30th birthday, which luckily is only a week away.  Unluckily, the fortune would then pass to his godfather's brother, Lord Tilbury, who just happens to be Jerry's former employer.  Tilbury will stop at nothing to get Biff in trouble and get his hands on the money.  Jerry wants to help Biff because he's in love with Kay, who unfortunately is already engaged to a stuffy British diplomat.

The book is short, but delightful, full of witty repartee and downright silliness.  There are love triangles and quadrangles, amazing coincidences, and a great recurring bit about missing trousers.  Being Wodehouse, it all comes right in the end.

Wodehouse wrote more than 70 books, over a period of about as many years.  Frozen Assets is fairly late, published in 1964 (so it just qualifies for the Back to the Classics Challenge), but the humor is timeless.  This was a perfect choice for my Humorous Classic category for the Back to the Classics Challenge.  Originally, I was planning on reading The Pickwick Papers, but it's nearly 800 pages so I'm saving that for my Very Long Classic.

Anyone else a Wodehouse fan?  Which are your favorites?  And has anyone else started on the Back to the Classics Challenge yet?

15 comments:

  1. I love Wodehouse. I just pulled out Carry On, Jeeves and hope to get to it soon.

    I read my first Back to the Classics book, Gulliver's Travels. It was a fantastic read. I'm so pleased with my choice!

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    1. I've been wanting to read Gulliver's Travels! Are you using it for the Name in the Title category?

      I'm also thinking about a Pre-1800s Classic category for 2016.

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  2. I adore Wodehouse. His Psmith books are my favourites but all of them are fun.

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    1. I haven't read any about Psmith yet, but I've heard great things about them! Definitely on my list.

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  3. Oh, how itersting and funny. I have to read several booksof this author. I hear so many things about his books, but I did not yeat read any of them.

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    1. Wodehouse is a hoot. They're also generally short, which I always appreciate.

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  4. I have this one on the TBR stacks! I am in the middle of a classic Victorian melodrama, and I know I'll be looking for something lighter after I finish. PGW might be just the thing!

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    1. Oh, I love Victorian melodramas! Lady Audley's Secret is one of my favorites! I'll look for your review.

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  5. I enjoy a PG Wodehouse book now and then, but I'm way less fond of them than I always expect myself to be. Maybe I should branch out from just the Jeeves books and see where that takes me.

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    1. I have to be in the mood for them. The Jeeves books tend to be sort of the same after awhile. This one was pretty clever.

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  6. Wodehouse is an author I have not read yet but is definitely on my to-read list! I have started the challenge with first book is Les Miserables, over 1100 words! I am absolutely loving it, though I still have a little ways to go. :)

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    1. Are you counting Les Mis for the Very Long Classic? It's on my TBR shelf also (and The Count of Monte Cristo). Right now I'm listening to The Pickwick Papers on audio which will take FOREVER, and reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I am a sucker for a big fat book.

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    2. I haven't decided for sure yet... probably so though. I could count it for the 19th century classic, but there are so many books that fit that category on my list... Yes I love big fat books as well!! <3

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  7. I love P.G. Wodehouse and all his books make me chuckle. He should get an award for writing so MANY funny books. I have read five Jeeves and Wooster books recently, 2 Psmiths and others too including the country gentleman who has the pig. Nice to meet you here.

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  8. I'm a Wodehouse fan, but I've not gone beyond the Jeeves books :) Will keep an eye out for this, though.

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