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What did you love best about P.G. Wodehouse?
Well read, fairly honest in its enthusiasm for Wodehouse, and surprisingly objective when it comes to the troublesome aspects of P.G.'s character and difficult periods of his life. The author was a friend of the family who knew PGW, and was also the daughter and biographer of playwright Frederick Lonsdale. This book makes a nice compliment to Robert McCrum's definitive biography of a few years ago. It does provide some greater detail to Plum's interment during WWII, including some lengthy excerpts of his camp journals, and does provide a longer treatment of this period, perhaps more artfully summarized in McCrum's book.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
There is an almost chronological review of PGW's writing and some commentary on books other than those most currently remembered (the Jeeves and Bertie series and the Blandings Castle stories).
Which character – as performed by Frederick Davidson – was your favorite?
Ms. Donaldson provides an objective, "insiders" view of PGW, and if she is forgiving of his eccentricities, she does deal with them in an objective, if generally sympathetic manner. The unfortunate episode and its aftermath does cast a kind of pall on the book, which is perhaps proportionate to its impact in PGW's life. But overall, Ms. Donaldson conveys the charmed life of a gifted and rightly celebrated writer. Because of the author's obvious affection for her subject, she does take the time and effort to go through the entirety of his career, including his work for the stage which is sometimes given short shrift.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Like most of the Wodehouse audible releases, the performance is terrific, particularly when reciting excerpts from the Master's work. It was a bit strange at first, to hear a male voice narrating a book authored by a woman, but this worked as well, since there is a lot of recitation from PGW's work and his private correspondences.
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