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Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a falling off . . . . . time has passed Bertie by., 20 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Aunts Aren't Gentlemen: (Jeeves & Wooster) (Paperback)
I have loved almost everything P G Wodehouse wrote since I first encountered him 40 years ago in a Jeeves and Wooster omnibus volume from a book club. He makes me laugh on almost every page. But the essence of Bertie Wooster is that he is a silly young ass; he is not a silly late-middle-aged ass. And yet in the opening pages we find him harrumphing like a retired Admiral at the sight of a "protest march" in 1970s London. But Wooster is a young man, and it is always the 1920s or perhaps the '30s at the latest. The political mickey-taking that worked so well in, say, the short story "Comrade Bingo" from the 1923 collection "The Inimitable Jeeves", or all the various Spode episodes, where the peculiar looks and conduct of political extremists are guyed, just falls flat here. This is probably because Wodehouse is writing about something so outside his experience, so different from London in the first quarter of the 20th century, that he ends up sounding like a very grumpy old man. The book never really recovers, and the plot device of the cat who keeps reappearing seems merely tired. The old invention is gone, although the verbal dexterity remains, and there are plenty of chuckles to be had on the way. But Bertie is a curiously schizophrenic character here, and in the end this book detracts from the Wodehouse reputation.
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