Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Piccadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse - Book Review

Piccadilly JimPiccadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a recent Reddit post titled What books are worth reading just for the quality of their prose alone?, I was very happy to see P.G. Wodehouse being mentioned. He truly deserves to be mentioned!

With Piccadilly Jim, PGW is probably at his descriptive best and the book contains ample amount of the sunshine-filled (hat tip Stephen Fry) language that is known to flow out of his mind.

Plot-wise I wouldn't say that this book would stand well in a Sumo wrestling match against some of his other champions, but the Wodehousian charm is strong and pervasively permeating in this one.

I loved the characters drawn in this book. Mr. Pett (Sensational Turning Of A Worm!), Miss Trimble, Mr. Crocker, Jimmy, Jerry Mitchell, Ann (with her red hair and the nature which generally goes with red hair), and even Ogden for that matter are beautiful.

He had the plethoric habit of one to whom wholesome exercise is a stranger and the sallow complexion of the confirmed candy-fiend.

(On a slightly unrelated note, the Kindle / Gutenberg version has chapter titles that are missing from the printed book. The titles do add to the fun part!)

Few gems from the book:

An exile from home splendour dazzles in vain.
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again;
The birds singing gaily, that came at my call,
Give me them, and that peace of mind dearer than all.

Mr. Crocker had never lived in a thatched cottage, nor had his relations with the birds of his native land ever reached the stage of intimacy indicated by the poet; but substitute "Lambs Club" for the former and "members" for the latter, and the parallel becomes complete.

"Have you packed everything I shall want?"
"Within the scope of a suitcase, yes, sir."

It is but rarely that any one is found who is not dazzled by the glamour of incivility.

It is one of the effects of a successful hunch that it breeds other hunches.

And this one is particularly romantic!

"To a girl with your ardent nature some one with whom you can quarrel is an absolute necessity of life. You and I are affinities. Ours will be an ideally happy marriage. You would be miserable if you had to go through life with a human doormat with 'Welcome' written on him. You want some one made of sterner stuff. You want, as it were, a sparring-partner, some one with whom you can quarrel happily with the certain knowledge that he will not curl up in a ball for you to kick, but will be there with the return wallop. I may have my faults—" He paused expectantly. Ann remained silent. "No, no!" he went on. "But I am such a man. Brisk give-and-take is the foundation of the happy marriage. Do you remember that beautiful line of Tennyson's—'We fell out, my wife and I'? It always conjures up for me a vision of wonderful domestic happiness. I seem to see us in our old age, you on one side of the radiator, I on the other, warming our old limbs and thinking up snappy stuff to hand to each other—sweethearts still! If I were to go out of your life now, you would be miserable. You would have nobody to quarrel with. You would be in the position of the female jaguar of the Indian jungle, who, as you doubtless know, expresses her affection for her mate by biting him shrewdly in the fleshy part of the leg, if she should snap sideways one day and find nothing there."

I enjoyed reading this book a lot.

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