Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Finished: Something Fresh

Something Fresh is the first of P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings novels, and it's my pick for the Mixing It Up challenge, Humor/Journalism category (I went for humor).

Being a huge fan of Wodehouse's Jeeves books (quite possibly the most sublimely funny stories in existence), I went into Something Fresh with pretty high expectations.  Alas.  It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I expect from Wodehouse.  The Jeeves stories are effortless and inspired;  Something Fresh felt forced and unoriginal.

Set in Blandings Castle around the turn of the twentieth century, it has all the elements of the period great-house farce:  a country estate, dim-witted aristocrats, eccentric collectors of antiquities, romantic entanglements, adventure-seeking impostors, and a priceless missing scarab.  Misunderstandings, both above and below stairs, mistaken identity, and nocturnal sneaking in and out of rooms abound.

With Wodehouse's gift for the absurd, and fluency with words, this should really be a lot funnier.  Not to belabor the point, but I generally chuckle my way through Jeeves and Wooster's carryings on.  Something Fresh, on the other hand--I found myself wanting to love it, but just not getting there.

9 comments:

  1. Yes, I've also found the Blandings books to be just not as inspired as the Jeeves/Wooster combo. Somehow they fall a bit flat. I have Something Fresh and it isn't a big favorite.

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    1. Then it's not just me, lol.

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  2. I agree - nothing can top Bertie and Jeeves. I listened to the Blanding books on tape (or cd, or something audio), and really enjoyed them. I find that sometimes humorous books are funnier when they're being read aloud.

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    1. You're right; a good actor could probably make it more enjoyable.

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  3. I agree, Blandings doesn't compare to Jeeves. As a stand along Wodehouse book, I really enjoyed Money in the Bank.

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    1. Thanks for the tip--I'll definitely check that one out. :)

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    2. Thanks for the tip--I'll definitely check that one out. :)

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  4. I'm just getting into Wodehouse, and have to agree the Jeeves books are absolutely spot on :)

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