Review: Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse

by Kanishk Singh on January 9, 2014

Review: Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Publisher: Arrow Books
Year: 1947
ISBN: 9780099590682
Rating: ★★★★☆
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A comedy of errors using ‘concatenation of circumstances’, Wodehouse’s Joy In The Morning amuses and bemuses us in each and every page. Paper has rarely been put to better use than for printing Wodehouse.

Bertie and Jeeves set out to balance the imbalanced once again; against their wishes and wants as usual. This time, a lot of love triangles, love squares and other polygons are involved. Bertie Wooster is coerced into visiting Steeple Bumpleigh, home of Aunt Agatha and her husband, Lord Worplesdon. He soon walks into a web of broken engagements, arson and delightfully horrible misunderstandings. And as luck has it with Bertie, he almost always becomes a victim of circumstances and seeks the profound and polished wisdom of Jeeves, his butler.

Wodehouse was the funniest novelist of the past century. The classic comedy of errors that filled his novels, along with a non-exhaustive and evergreen style of writing, made them one of the most light-hearted and comforting pieces of literature, forever to be cherished. You can pick up any Wodehouse book and be rewarded. Many are built on the same formula – hapless English minor aristocrat gets into and barely out of complicated and hilarious scrapes, sometimes with the help of a sagacious butler and sometimes not – but surprisingly, the formula keeps working.

The work in question is no different. The author has quite cleverly and subtly used, as Bertie says, ‘concatenation of circumstances’, to structure the novel. The characters deal with obtuse situations in a humorous facet, the outcomes being a laugh riot. All of the names in the book were hilarious and perfect: Steeple Bumpleigh, Boko Fiddleworth, Percy Lord Worplesdon. One of the best characters was Edwin, a ten-year-old boy scout who had a “kink in his psychology which made him such a menace to the society”. He is the centre of most of the roguery and misconceptions in the moulded as well as fabricated relationships of Nobby and Boko, and Stilton and Florence respectively.

The writing is clearly informed by great artists. Wooster is always incompletely or incorrectly citing great literature and poetry. Jeeves then fills in with the correct quote. This adds a high brow touch along with opening up opportunities for comedy, what with Wooster denigrating Shakespeare. The only disappointing thing about this book was the minimal character development. However, this is easily overlooked. The wit constantly shadows over it.

Overall, in the book, the key is the narration. Joy In The Morning is not completely dissimilar to the other books in the series. And that is because Wodehouse developed a winning formula and stuck with it. Though an average reader is accustomed to this style and can anticipate all the jokes, there is still room for laughter aplenty. It’s not only the obtuse, slap-stick characters, but rather the author’s wit that has you coming back for more of the same.

Look here for our list of top 10 Wodehouse novels, and check out our review of Very Good, Jeeves by this author.

Written by Kanishk Singh

A bibliophile and cinephile. Deeply interested in the literature and process of writing. Penning down my first novel.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

richasingh January 9, 2014 at 6:33 AM

PG woodhouse. Who would not love these books. Well I like the criticisms you have thrown at it. Books had a set formula people were enjoying it and never modified. Of course it was humour more than plot that still draws us to these books 🙂

Richa

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IndiaBookStore January 10, 2014 at 2:46 AM

Don’t you think the most popular writers always have their own unique formula? Christie too….. all her books (as she herself pointed out once) have similarities…. yet readers of every generation continue to adore her!

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richasingh January 10, 2014 at 4:38 AM

I agree. In fact I often feel Hercule Poirot is just a mirror of Jane marple with gender change 😀 And yes she is loved by generations including a very much me 😀

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