Friday, June 22, 2012

Love Among the Chickens - P.G. Wodehouse (Audio)

I know many of you out there are avid fans of P.G. Wodehouse, a British humorist that has written hundreds of novels, short stories, and poems, all published over a successful 70-year career.  I have a few of his books on my shelves, but have never taken the plunge...this is a style of novel way off my beaten path.


But Heather (Raging Bibliomania) loaned me this audiobook, and it was only a handful of discs.  Often that is all it takes for me.  Heather told me it was pretty funny, and I was sulking around in a foul mood, so I thought it might help my cause.  First I did a little research on the book.


Apparently, this book was first written in 1906, but Wodehouse revised and republished it in 1921.  Wodehouse wrote a number of short stories that featured the gregarious, outlandish entrepreneur Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, but this was the only full-length novel in which he appears.  


Synopsis:  Jeremy Garnet, our narrator, is an author of moderate success and an old friend of Stanley Ukridge.  One day, Ukridge blows into London with his new wife, and convinces Jeremy to escape to the countryside with them to help set up a chicken farm, his latest get-rich-quick scheme.  Ukridge is convinced that this venture will make them all big bucks.


But Ukridge is not a detail kind of guy, and doesn't anticipate issues like feeding the animals, housing them, or the possibility of illness or having to pay back creditors.    Jeremy does his best to smooth over the ruffled feathers (pun intended) left in Ukridge's wake, while doing quite a bit of the manual labor.  He also partakes of some golfing, meets a beautiful young woman, and sets out to woo her, making many bad decisions along the way.


My thoughts:  I have to admit, I found Wodehouse clever and, had I been in any other mood than foul, I would have been laughing out loud for the entire listening experience.   As it was, however, I found the humor trivial and silly, and I lost patience.  I take full blame.  I should have never even tried to lighten my mood, and gone straight for murder and dismemberment.


I do truly believe in my heart that a phenomenal book can provide an effective attitude adjustment.  This was not that kind of book.  I will most definitely try Wodehouse again, probably in print, in a better mood, and would certainly recommend him to anyone who enjoys quippy British humor.


A few words about the audio production:  Our narrator for this novel was Jonathan Cecil, and it appears that he is responsible for many of the Wodehouse audios.  He had a boisterous, pompous British air about him, which lent well to the story.  But I had a real struggle with the fact that he sounded like he was spitting when he talked.  It was probably the mood again, but I was nearly repulsed.  I'm not sure I could listen to the spitting on a regular basis.


2.5 out of 5 stars        


  

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Bummer. British humor is definitely different than ours and a little of it goes a long way for me. My mother, however, loves it. She would probably love Wodehouse's work.

Beth F said...

Bummer indeed. Sometimes liking or disliking a book is all about mood.

C.B. James said...

Awwww, darn. I know how one's mood can affect how we react to a book. When I feeling very down, I only look at depressing movies that about people whose lives are much worse than mine. I hate reading about happy people or happy endings when I'm depressed.

Someday, give the Jeeves stories a try. I think Wodehouse is much better in the short story form than he is in novels. His art, like his humor, is a very slight one like a dessert meant to be eaten in smallish portions. Just read one or two Jeeves stories and see what you think. Don't try to read the whole volume at once. I don't understand why people read entire short story anthologies at once. They're meant to be short!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm a big fan of Wodehouse, but I do think you have to be in the right mood for him. Jeevs is my favorite, but I've been meaning to try Psmith.

Darlene said...

Too bad. Maybe you should try listening when you're in a better mood. I find when I'm in one of those really foul kind of moods nothing helps excepting locking myself in a room away from everything and everyone.

caite said...

I have never read anything by Wodehouse, but I will not let your negative opinion stop me from feeling that I should! :-)

The Bumbles said...

Hahaha! I love your sentiment about the narration :0)

You should submit a link to this review for The Classic Bribe challenge over on Quirky Girls Read...
http://quirkygirlsread.com/qgr-2012-challenges/the-classic-bribe-2012-review-page/

Alyce said...

I haven't read this author, but I have totally had the experience of my mood ruining a book. There have been a couple that I have set aside to read later for that very reason. Usually when I'm in that bad of a mood I opt for Harry Potter. Nothing like warring with Voldemort to lift my spirits.

Julie P. said...

I love British humor but the spitting sound might be a problem!

Tasha B. said...

Hmm. You should download the Jeeves and Wooster stories from Librivox. I definitely thing they're attitude adjustment-worthy.

softdrink said...

Ptooey. (That's me spitting in sympathy.)

I listened to a few of the Jeeves stories a couple of years ago. They were entertaining, but I was done after two or three.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree - nothing like good old murder and dismemberment to elevate the spirits! LOL