Biff Reviews: “Summer Lightning” by P.G. Wodehouse

Summer Lightning Cover - PG Wodehouse v1

Last night before going to bed, I finished reading P. G. Wodehouse’s book, “Summer Lightning”.   As with every book of his that I have ever read, it left me feeling both elated and dejected.

I was elated because each and every one of Wodehouse’s books are are delight and a treasure.  He creates a world that we all want to escape to, to live in and to be a part of.  We want to meet his characters and talk to them.  We want to roam around Blandings Castle or the Drones Club and have a look about.

And I was dejected for much the same reason … because my brief little foray into his world was at an end.  I was faced with the prospect of closing the book, setting it down on the little table beside my chair, and being forced to re-enter my own world.

A world sometimes called, without blushing, the “real” world.

But let’s face it:  the world of Wodehouse is the real world.  We, on the other hand, are in some sort of alternate reality that has gone awry.

But we are stuck here, so we might as grab what enjoyment we can.

And the best way to do that is to read anything written by P.G. Wodehouse.

I should probably admit at this point that I am primarily a “Bertie and Jeeves” fan.  I have read a few of Wodehouse’s non-Jeeves books, but only a very few.  While I very much like the non-Jeeves books, I absolutely LOVE (all caps) the Jeeves books.

Even so, I quite enjoyed “Summer Lightning.”  After all, what is not to like?  A chorus girl posing as an heiress?  Several love triangles … or love parallelograms … or some shape or another?  An annoying little detective running around trying to get the goods on everyone?  A dotty old Lord who is gaga over his prized pig?  A pig, I might add, that is stolen and hidden away as a pawn in one (or more) of the love triangles I just mentioned?  Or even apparently-barmy private secretaries who hurl flower pots at his employer or jumps from windows?

As with most Wodehouse books, there are a lot of moving parts to this story, but they all move in perfect concert and are a joy to behold.

The ending may not be a complete surprise to anyone, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Wodehouse is a master of buttoning up a story perfectly at the end and leaving the reader completely satisfied, rubbing his tummy, and already thinking ahead dreamily towards reading his next Wodehouse book.

 

10 comments

  1. On some groups of his fans on FB, often surveys get carried out, trying to identify either the most loved work or the most favourite character, etc. Pointless, in my opinion. To each his or her own. There may be a shade of a difference between one or the next, but the standard deviation of his brand of humour is invariably in a narrow range. Whether the outcome is a loud guffaw or a mild chuckle would most likely depend upon what J would describe as the psychology of the individual at that point in time.

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  2. Bill, old bean, as a Jeeves/Wooster fan, you are a rare creature in my experience of Americans who read Wodehouse. Those I know prefer the Blandings cycle and, get this, they consistently vote Leave it to Psmith as the best PGW novel. I’ve protested but they’re adamant. My vote goes to Right Ho, Jeeves (Brinkley Manor in the US) but others of our ilk prefer Code of the Woosters. I don’t quibble. I mean, you could just as easily go for Joy in the Morning or The Mating Season. As it happens I’ve just finished Bachelors Anonymous, one of his last novels and one of those little romances that he was so fond of and I usually don’t read twice. Anyway, the point is: in these trying times, there’s always Wodehouse (whatever part of his work you fancy). Toodle-pip!

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    • Hi Noel!

      I guess everyone has their own favorites when it comes to the Wodehouse multiverse. I just assumed everyone preferred B&J if for no other reason than it was popularized by the ITV series with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

      I personally prefer B&J either because the very first Wodehouse book I ever read was a B&J one, or because I just find them to be a bit more lighthearted than even other lighthearted Wodehouse fare. And I am a sucker for first-person narratives.

      As you say, these are the trying times that calls for a bracing shot of Wodehouse like never before!

      Toodle-pip to you, as well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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