Friday, June 24, 2011

Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

When I start reading a P. G. Wodehouse book, I am never quite sure whether I have already read it. Wodehouse reused numerous characters and plot devices throughout his writing career, and to complicate matter, I have seen all of the Bertie and Jeeves episodes on Masterpiece Theater. While I greatly enjoyed the performances of Hugh Laurie and Stephen Frey, I long to read the original and complete stories, rich in outrageously comical details. And reading them two or three times seems even better when I am in need of a laugh.

So, as I was reading The Code of the Woosters, I thought it seemed familiar. The story started in Bertie's London apartment, of course, and then moved to a large country home, just as readers expect. I knew all the characters by name and reputation. Gussie Fink-Nottle, Madeline Bassett, and Roderick Spode at this point in my reading career seem like real people to me. (I wonder if they are on Facebook.) What surprised me was how many people were trying to get Bertie to nick or hide items. Everyone seemed to be in on the robberies. At one point, the locations of a notebook filled with poisonous comments, a cow-shaped creamer, and a policeman's helmet all seemed to be in Bertie's unwilling possession. I was uncertain how Jeeves would get Bertie out of all the trouble.

After I finished the book, I did check my reading database. Yes, I read it back in 1998. Maybe I will read it again in 2024.

Wodehouse, P. G. The Code of the Woosters. Vintage Books, 1975. ISBN 9780394720289.

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