Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What I Read in September Part III . . .

What I Read in September Part III . . .

Big Money by P.G. Wodehouse -- Historical Fiction/Romantic Comedy

Beresford Conway is a secretary for Mr Frisby, a tyrannical American financier in London but he dreams of adventure. If he had the money, he would travel around the world on a packet steamer. Unfortunately his aunt died and left him with a thousand shares of worthless stock and an unprofitable copper mine so work he must. Godfrey, Lord Biskerton, is also in need of money but his solution to to touch his friends for funds. Ideally, he should find a wealthy bride with money to fix the crumbling old ancestral estate, but he's not disposed to matrimony. He does have a solution to Berry's problem though - find some chump to buy up the copper mine "Dream Come True." Berry's employer is eager to help, for his own personal reasons of course. He's not about to part with his own money but he knows someone who would be a willing buyer. A solution to Biscuit's financial situation soon presents itself in the arrival of Ann Moon, Frisby's niece. Ann arrives in London after having rejected the most eligible (but boring) suitors in New York. She dreams of adventure and romance. If Biscuit can pull off his plan, it will benefit his whole family. However, his creditors are after him and he must go underground a bit. A situation ensues in which Berry mistakes Biscuit for the head of a cocaine ring and jumps into a young lady's car on a high speed chase out of London. Berry has never done anything like this before but the young lady is under the impression he works for the Secret Service. She disappears from his life before he can get her name but he knows he's madly in love. How can he marry a girl he doesn't know? How can he marry without money? Then there's the little matter of the lie he told about his job. As Biscuit hides out from his creditors, he discovers some very surprising things about himself and his neighbors.

This story gets off to a slow and boring start. At first it's about the two young men in need of money and I didn't see where the story was going. Then it picks up once Ann enters the picture. There are some typical wacky Wodehouse moments where I wonder how in the world he came up with such absurd situations? No one does screwball comedy like Wodehouse. There are several romances - all predictable. One is major and very sweet and the other two are more in the background. I didn't like the way the main romance concluded. It seemed strange and was very rushed. I was sort of hoping that the characters would show some growth but only one really does. I really liked Berry. He's sweet and kind. I feel a bit sorry for him with everything he has to deal with. I was rooting for him to find happiness. Biscuit is a typical Wodehouse young aristocrat, except he has a bit more brains. I thought his solution to the financial situation towards the end very bizarre and not something I would have thought of. Ann is a bit silly and not really the kind of girl I want to be friends with. She's young and naive and I can relate to her feelings of rebellion but she doesn't really show a lot of sense. I didn't like her in the end and didn't really understand her feelings.

Though this book isn't one of Wodehouse's better known works, it's enjoyable and I think old and new fans should read it.

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