For my Back to the Classics Challenge, I needed a volume of short stories, so I turned to my own TBR shelves. Lately, I've been in dire need of fun, escapist reads, and P. G. Wodehouse has never let me down. I chose Plum Pie, a collection of nine stories. First published in 1966, it just made the cutoff for the challenge.
Wodehouse had an amazingly long publishing career -- his first novel The Pothunters was published in 1902; his last complete novel, Aunts Aren't Gentlemen was published an astonishing 72 years later, in 1974. Though Plum Pie is late in the Wodehouse oeuvre, it still has some stellar moments, and include some of his classic bits, including Jeeves and Wooster, a golf story, a Blandings story, and an Ukridge story.
By far my favorites from the collection were the first story, "Jeeves and the Greasy Bird," in which Jeeves and Aunt Agatha manage to disentangle Bertie from an unwanted engagement once again (seriously, how many times has Bertie inadvertently been betrothed?) and the final story, "Life with Freddie," which is really a 70-plus page novella about Freddie Threepwood of the Drones club. That one involves three different romantic entanglements on a cruise ship; smuggling an expensive diamond necklace to avoid paying stiff import taxes; and Freddie's attempts to land a dog biscuit account with a large department store executive. It's all very slapstick and silly and naturally it ends well for the majority of the characters (well, at least the ones I was rooting for).
|Hugh Laurie as the hapless Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves in the brilliant ITV adaptation from the early 1990s.|
Most of the stories in this volume were previously published in magazines; also, there are some bits and pieces between the stories which I believe are excerpts from newspaper columns Wodehouse published in the U.S. They really didn't add much to the collection. However, lesser Wodehouse works are still funnier than most books and stories, so it wasn't a waste of time.
Overall, I'd say this is worth reading if you are a die-hard Wodehouse fan. If you're a Wodehouse beginner, I'd stick with some of the earlier Jeeves collections, like Very Good, Jeeves or The Code of the Woosters, both of which is are just brilliant. I've only read about a dozen of Wodehouse's works so I have plenty of books left before I run out, in which case I will start over from the beginning.
Bloggers, are any of you Wodehouse fans? Which are your favorites?