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on 18 August 2010
Though one tends to think of his school stories when thinking of early Wodehouse, he did on several occasions stretch himself, and often with much better results than what he achieved with the school stories. "Not George Washington" is a case in point. Billed as an autobiographical novel, this story is very humorous and one of his better early efforts, along with "Love Among the Chickens" and "William Tell Told Again". Published originally on October 18th, 1907 and co-written with Herbert Westbrook, Wodehouse uses his early career and some of his and Westbrook's doings as the framework for the story.

The story is cleverly written, as it moves from one narrator to the next. The narrative starts as from Miss Margaret Goodwin, a woman who becomes engaged to James Orlebar Cloyster (Wodehouse). They fall in love and are engaged to be married, but first he must succeed as a writer, and so he heads off to London and they are parted. Her narrative jumps ahead a few years as she is still waiting, but has written a play which she sends to her husband so that he can succeed.

In London, the narrative shifts to Cloyster and returns to the time of his initial arrival and attempts to become a writer. Cloyster soon becomes distracted by other aspects of life, and the story artfully weaves its way through his career events, his personal relationships, and the waning of his feelings for Miss Goodwin. Cloyster ends up hiding his success from Miss Goodwin by publishing his works through three different men.

The narrative next shifts to Sidney Price. Price is one of Cloyster's fronts who becomes aware that he is not the only one who is allowing Cloyster to publish using his name. He and the others decide they want a higher rate and confront Cloyster, but Cloyster has decided to marry another woman (the cousin of a friend) and cancels his arrangement with all three of the men. Price then sees works still being published under the other two men's names, and learns that they have decided that they can write as well as Cloyster, so Price also begins to write and publish under his own name.

The narrative then shifts to Julian Eversleigh (Westbrook) - the friend of Cloyster who is the cousin of Cloyster's new fiancé - and then back to Cloyster as the story twists and turns at the end in a marvelous display of Wodehouse at his best. The overall story is fairly strong, though not quite at the level of the second version of "Love Among the Chickens", it is still one of the best of Wodehouse's early works.
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on 2 June 2014
Back in print as a hardcover book for the first time since it was published in 1907, this has always been one of the most difficult to obtain Wodehouse titles. Collectors pay large sums for the first edition, but here it is at last in a fine edition at a bargain price.

Wodehouse authority Richard Usborn dismissed this as "a very poor novel", but biographer Robert McCrum noted that it is nevertheless an important and overlooked work written primarily by Wodehouse despite his protests to the contrary when it was published.

The significance here lies in the fact that, at least up to a point, the main character is an autobiographical depiction of Plum's early days as a writer. The result is what might be expected if Wodehouse had written Jack London's novel "Martin Eden", which was published around the same time.

I found the book to be not so bad as Usborne judged and definitely worth reading at least once if you have a deep appreciation for the Master.
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on 5 March 2016
I'm working my way around to getting every Wodehouse in the series, replacing tatty old paperbacks with hardbacks (and filling in the blanks in my collection).

The books are a fantastic read, and this edition will please every Wodehouse fan.
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on 21 March 2016
As always with Wodehouse a nice easy read with great characters, comedy and his usual happy ending. If you know and like Wodehouse you will enjoy this book but not one to read as an introduction to the author I wouldn't have thought.
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on 11 November 2015
A strangely compelling book shows the depth and quality of an underared talent
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on 13 February 2015
Good service and price
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