As I told you last week, I have been on a Wodehouse binge. Over the last three days I have read three of his books back to back while also reading a collection of his letters. I have had a thoroughly good time. The three books that I have been reading are Mike at Wrykyn,Mike and Psmith and Psmith in the City.
The first two are school stories. Wodehouse describes his time at public school as “Six years of unbroken bliss.” It is obvious from these books how much he loved being at school. These are stories about friendship, about growing up, doing silly things just for the sake of doing them and having fun.
There is plenty of cricket too. Mike, our hero is a keen cricketer and a genuinely gifted batsman, so a lot of the story and the plot in all three books revolves around cricket. This may not be to everyone’s taste but I certainly love it.
There is a cricket match at the end of all three books. Wodehouse writes each of the matches so well…you get sucked into the action and you’re reading with breathless attention, wondering what is going to happen next. It is the best kind of escapism…
The third book, Psmith in the city has our young heroes forced to go to work in a bank and hating the rigidity and the confinement of the place. This is a plot straight out of Wodehouse’s life. He too went to work at a bank after he finished school and he hated it.
He wrote books in whatever spare time he had and at the first sign of success, he left the bank. He had to struggle for another few years before he was truly successful, but he writes about it all so breezily in his letters and makes it seem like a big adventure rather than a struggle to make ends meet.
I think that is what I like most about this man. He had spirit.