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Customer Review

on 30 September 2012
"Mike" was first published in the U.K. on September 15, 1909. I believe it is the longest of Wodehouse's school novels, and it was republished in 1953 in two slightly revised parts titled "Mike at Wrykyn" and "Mike and Psmith". Mike Jackson is the main character in part one, and covers Mike's life at Wrykyn, a public school as have all his brothers before him. The Jackson boys are known for their cricket, and Mike is the youngest, and most talented, of them all. In the second part, Mike is sent, against his will, to a new school, Sedleigh. There he meets Psmith, a student who is in a similar position. This part covers their strategy of rebelling against things in general, and the events that end up accepting their positions and their new school.

This novel is very much like Wodehouse's other schoolhouse novels. A strong focus on sport, in this case it is cricket, which is his most common choice. There are also the usual interactions and misunderstandings between students, and of course a bit of rebellious behavior which causes friction with the faculty. In many ways "Mike" is unremarkable. Wodehouse has other stories, starting with his very first, which doesn't cover at least some of the ground here. What makes it worth reading to Wodehouse enthusiasts is the character Psmith, one of the more memorable characters that Wodehouse created. Psmith only appears on four stories, starting with "Mike" and going on to "Psmith in the City", and on to Psmith Journalist, before finishing with "Leave it to Psmith". The character of Mike Jackson appears in the same four books, but he is not as nearly as unique a character.

"Mike" is the 12th book that P. G. Wodehouse had published, and it is the last of his school stories, though he would use these characters as he transitioned to other types of stories. Some of these attempts did not work so well, but it did culminate in the excellent "Leave it to Psmith". I would recommend this book to those who love Wodehouse, but if you are looking for a good place to experience him for the first time, "Mike" is not the best choice. I would say that the second half of the book is clearly better than the first, but overall I round it down to two stars.
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2.0 out of 5 stars