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PG Wodehouse, Leave it to Psmith 
9th-Aug-2006 03:37 pm
Leave it to Psmith - PG Wodehouse

Leave It to Psmith was my first exposure to the work of PG Wodehouse, and is still my favorite. I reread it whenever I find it on my bookshelf again, and giggle just as much as the first time.


The book centers around Psmith (the 'p' is silent, as in pstarmigan) who is, to quote the book, "essentially a young man who took life as it came, and the more inconsequently it came, the better he liked it." He is also very, very, very, very fond of the sound of his own voice, to the point where other characters more or less tell him to shut up. Fortunately, he's genuinely amusing, and the only thing funnier than the idea of him making fun of everyone around him is the idea that he's completely serious about the things he says.

Owing to his father's death after having lost the family fortune, Psmith has been working for his uncle, who is in the fish business. He hates it, so he quits and places an advertisement in the newspaper offering his services for hire for any job having nothing to do with fish. A rather stupid young man sees this advertisement, and tries to hire Psmith to steal his aunt's diamond necklace.

Much chaos ensues, with a grand total of five would-be thieves all told, an overly-efficient secretary, geranium abuse, poets, and a firm splash of romantic comedy. There is, of course, a happy ending nearly all around, because Wodehouse books are never sad.

I can't do real justice to a story synopsis without telling more than I should; each scene builds on the previous scenes very closely, so that when I attempt to write a sane synopsis, I either spell out the plot in extreme detail or sound like a frothing madwoman spewing incoherent words.

And I don't like being a frothing madwoman. Anyway.

Leave It to Psmith is what I term a true situation comedy - it relies less on slapstick or witty one-liners and more on the true wackiness of the situations and characters. At no point does a joke fall flat, and in fact I can't really point to anyone thing and say 'that's a joke'. The entire thing is hysterically funny to me.

I'm not certain it would be possible to recommend this book highly enough to anyone looking for a laugh.
Comments 
27th-Mar-2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Great review of one of my favorite Wodehouse stories! The "frothing madwoman" comment made me laugh. It put me in mind of myself trying to explain Wodehouse to people, as between the crazy plots and my own love of said crazy plots I tend to descend into fangirlish jibber-jabber. Ah, would that I had the tongue of Psmith.
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