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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

Blandings Castle

Blandings Castle - P.G. Wodehouse Did I enjoy Blandings Castle? Oh I say, rather! I've been to Blandings before, usually with Uncle Fred, but this is the first time I've felt like a resident of the asylum.

Though similar to say a Totleigh Towers of the Jeeves & Wooster world, Blandings nonetheless has its own set of rules, its own cast of loons. Lord Emsworth, aka Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth is the principle character and a good ol' bean. In some stories he comes off as a doddering old Methuselah, but apparently he's meant to be only in his 60s. Irregardless of whatever story you're reading, Emsworth has a fairly one-track mind, he worries over his prize pig, the Empress of Blandings. If it's not the pig, then it's a pumpkin, but mainly it's the pig. Hardships and annoyances are tossed at him from every corner, yet he always keeps his eyes on the prize...pig.

Some of the hardships and annoyances include his constantly pestering sister Lady Constance Keeble, his good-for-nothing young son Freddy, his gravelly-souled gardner Angus McAllister, and bank holidays in August.

When Emsworth and his pig and pumpkin are not the focal point of the story, the topic almost inevitably is love. Some young couple, or rather I should say, some young trio is always falling in and out of love in Wodehouse's stories. Just as often as not, the young lovers are running from engagements as they are running to them. I can't count the number of times I've read about Bertie Wooster making a near escape from the alter.

Rounding out the collection of tales in Blandings Castle, nearly half the book to be more precise, are stories centered around the Hollywood movie scene of the early days. Wodehouse wrote a film script or two and committed his experiences to paper in the form of fictional, wacky misadventures. Some good satirical barbs at the industry provide a few laughs. However, good as these stories are, I can't help but feel that they are a tack-on to pad out the page total to make up a full book. That said, it's a very enjoyable book!

Addendum For Your Viewing Pleasure: I almost forgot, did you know there's a BBC tv series based on the Blandings books? I haven't seen it yet, but it's a comin' via the Netflix. I'm pretty excited, because it stars some actors from the Harry Potter movies as well as Jennifer Saunders of Ab Fab. I am however tempering my excitement, knowing full well that it will probably be flawed as any Wodehouse adapted story for the screen has been. Without his witty narration, it just isn't the same. But, we'll see!