Mike and Psmith - P. G. Wodehouse

I'm in my forties, and this is the first P. G. Wodehouse book I've read. From the occasional Jeeves and Wooster on the telly, this is not what I expected.

I expected complicated, witty plots of rich, young men. What this actually provides is a school story. Admittedly, they're rich schoolboys who end up getting jobs in the sequels, and Psmith is old beyond his years, but it's still not what I was expecting. My hopes for complex high-jinx were somewhat undermined by the somewhat basic pranks. There's a lot of "ragging" going on.

I am, perhaps, being a little unfair. Once I got over the original surprise, it's not really about schoolboys, it's about young gentlemen who are having to put up with the tedium of still being in school. Mike and Psmith are apart from the other boys, and they look down on and manipulate the masters.

A further horror is that the main plotline centres around cricket (Wodehouse apologises for this!), but he manages to make this entertaining nonetheless - not too much focus on the details, and a bit more on the dynamics around it.

Strangely, I'm a little unimpressed by the book, but it's spurred me on to read more. I'm keen to follow Mike and Psmith out of school and into a real-world setting, and would maybe like to read some other books, like Jeeves and Wooster, to get a feel for Wodehouse's variety and range. In itself, though, I felt this was a bit of a let-down.

Posted 2022-05-03.