Sunday, August 06, 2006

Buck Buck Buck Buck Buck

I am a big fan of P. G. Wodehouse, and not surprisingly, I loved Love Among the Chickens. Unfortunately, this particular edition leaves something to be desired.

It's published by, which judging by their website, is a vanity press. Of course, Love Among the Chickens, is out of copyright here in the US, so anybody can publish a new edition if they want to. I just wish they'd put a little effort into it. This edition is seems to be culled from the Project Gutenberg version and they . They did remove all the introductory legal bits Gutenberg adds, but unfortunately that seems to be all the editing that went into it. Project Gutenberg distributes most of their books in plain text formats--ASCII in this case. That means they can't show things like italics . Instead they use backslashes to represent it--like /this/. Unfortunately, whoever edited this book was too lazy or stupid to replace the back slashes with italics. This was extremely annoying.

The actual story is terrific and very funny. This was the first story, and only novel, featuring that classic Wodehouse dreamer and schemer, Ukridge. In this book, Ukridge tries to make money by starting a chicken farm, despite the fact that he knows absolutely nothing about chickens or agriculture. The book is narrated by Ukridge's writer friend, Garnet, who gets lugged into the scheme. Garnet falls in love with a neighbor of the farm, and has some comic misadventures while wooing her.

It's not Wodehouse's best book, but it's not his worst book either. Really, even Wodehouse's worst book would still be pretty damn good. Still, I can't recommend this edition. There are several others available (as I said it is out of copyright). I wish I had bought one of the others, as some are actually cheaper. I just hope their better edited. While the story itself is great, I can only give this edition 4 yo-yos because of the poor editing.

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