Image via BBC.
“Old man absentmindedly steals scarab beetle. Misunderstandings ensue.”
Something Fresh is the first in the Blandings series by PG Wodehouse. It is a well-crafted story that places a comical spin on the family affairs and romantic entanglements of the English upper class.
The characters all slot neatly together, which in turn creates great comedy, as there are many kept secrets and mistaken identities – it was like reading a modern Shakespeare comedy.
I asked my friend Sam, who lives and breathes PG Wodehouse (and also lent me his copy, nice) and created the witty synopsis above, to tell me why he likes him so much.
“It’s partly because of the innocence of the world which he’s created – it appeals to the romantic escapist in me – but also his masterful way with language is second to none. Light comedy has never had so much depth.” he explained.
I agree – Wodehouse’s narration is wonderfully witty; he makes reoccurring jokes, satirical commentary addressed directly to the reader or skilfully plays with the language. Subsequently, there are so many creative, quirky, and quotable sentences that I simply couldn’t write them all down.
I particularly liked the characters Joan Valentine and Ashe Marson. To see the pair’s growing friendship, growing rivalry, and growing affection was charming.
Also, I liked how strong and sassy Joan was – she directly criticises the notion of the damsel in distress used so often in novels and refuses to be given advantages simply because of her gender, insisting on being treated as Ashe’s equal. I especially liked the ending scenes between Joan and Ashe; I couldn’t stop smiling.
The ending to Something Fresh was neatly tied up which made such a nice change from modern books which, more often than not, request you read part two to find out what happens next. Sometimes, stories linked by the same characters and same settings, rather than the same narrative, can work just as well – if not better. Who knew.
I thoroughly enjoyed, and definitely recommend, Something Fresh. When can I read the sequel?