Since I first read a book from start to finish, probably at the age of 9 or 10 or thereabouts, I have ripped through a gazillion books at a speed that’d make a tornado feel pretty silly. Out of all of these, no author has been such a delight to read as P.G Wodehouse has.
I fell in love with P.G Wodehouse ( ‘Plum’ to hordes of adoring fans) when I was in the 9th standard. Our school, which couldn’t be called a model school, no matter which way you looked at it, had a few redeeming graces. The library was one. And it was pretty full to the brim with P.G Wodehouse. I was an indifferent student back then, at least in my estimation. (Popular opinion was that I was a geek. I suppose the glazed look in my eyes when I was daydreaming was mistaken for rapt attention). I spent many dreary hours in class living in P.G Wodehouse’s stories and having conversations with the characters.
P.G Wodehouse’s world is impossibly perfect – boy loves girl, and girl always loves him back, and vice versa. All money troubles of young couples in love are resolved by the hapless Lord Emsworth or other unwitting beneficiaries. If ever a hero is jilted in a story, he is sure to find a better girl by the end of the book, and so on. In short, the stuff of fairy-tales.
I may be biased, but I think these fairy-tales would appeal even to fans of realism. His stories are simply the backdrop for the famous Wodehouse brand of humour. Side-splittingly funny without being abusive, sarcastic without being bitter, mocking without being cruel – P.G Wodehouse is the grand old gentleman of comedy. He prods at the idiosyncrasies of his characters for us to laugh at, but gently. You can see he loves his flock of characters.
I could write reams about P.G Wodehouse, but I’ll sign off after just one more burst of enthusiasm – for Psmith, my favourite P.G Wodehouse invention by far. Probably the one story-book hero I’m never going to get over. The moment he introduced himself to a gaping parlourmaid…”My name is Psmith. The P is silent, as in pshark and ptarmigan“, I fell for him, hook, line, and sinker. If only, if only Psmith were for real!