P.G. Wodehouse


Doctor Sally


Capably done – Wodehouse on a bad day is better than most people on a good one – but this didn’t give me as much joy as he has in other books.




Squiffy is a pleasure, but Bill is just too unpleasant company for most of the time, and his ultimate redemption didn’t make sense – it was important earlier that he couldn’t find satisfaction in work (like the pig farm), and Sally had him bang to rights as an infantile waster, having a tantrum when he couldn’t have what he wanted. The abrupt revelation that he really was a serious worker jarred – much as you can see Wodehouse delighting in the sketch style humour of the gel becoming … ahem … overwhelmed with desire … with the reverse of the classic words that had left her cold (“Oh, Bill, tell me more about bacteria and butter tonnage! Oh!!).


Otherwise Bill was charmless and ill-tempered (not in a funny way) and there for too much of the time, and even Sally, who was initially refreshing and without a hint of ill-will, became more smug than self-assured. Moreover Bill hasn’t shown himself vaguely worthy – that she would fall for this grumpy ass reflects poorly on her.


Wodehouse, as ever, is all over his narration, and the idea was workable, but the particular interplay of characters for me meant it didn’t soar – and when Wodehouse soars, it doesn’t get much better.


March 2014