Monday, April 30, 2007

The Coming of Bill, by P. G. Wodehouse

One of things I really like about LibraryThing is that it enabled me to discover that there was an Overlook Press edition of a P. G. Wodehouse novel I didn't already own: The Coming of Bill. It's not his best book, but it isn't his worst by any means.

It's very different from his usual style. The back cover describes it as "The nearest Wodehouse ever came to writing a serious story," which is essentially true. Two characters die in the story. A couple gets together, gets married, has a baby, nearly gets divorced, and the gets back together again. In many ways, it's a sort of social commentary.

That's not to say that it isn't funny, because it is funny. There were several places where I laughed out loud. There are several of Wodehouse's standard character types: a butler (in this case Keggs who appeared in several other Wodehouse books), a meddling aunt, a boxer, and a business tycoon. This book has much to recommend it.

It's not quite as funny as some of Wodehouse's better known works, but it still is funny. The story is more serious than is typical for Wodehouse, but not detrimentally so. Really, The Coming of Bill deserves four and a halfyo-yos.

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