Aunts are n’t gentlemen

June 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

Okay! Here I am, trying my first book review of sorts for one named – Aunts are n’t gentlemen by PG Woodhouse. ~180 pages, ideal for a flight trip, a sunny afternoon (for Canadians) or any rainy day (for Indians)!!

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/10/AuntsArentGentlemen.jpg/200px-AuntsArentGentlemen.jpg

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The story, set in the countryside of Somerset, is on the events leading up to a horse race. The frontrunners are a Mr. Cork, a wealthy businessman and a Mr. Briscoe, a magistrate, who are not on the friendliest terms by the way. Wealthy businessmen and people of law probably rarely get along, is it?

Anyway, the story starts with Bertie paying a visit to a doctor for some skin rashes and he being recommended a peaceful countryside lifestyle with healthy exercise and one devoid of smoke, booze, late night sleeps and all things non-healthy. Bertie decides to stay in a cottage at Somerset so that he can stay close to Aunt Dahlia who is visiting Mr. Briscoe! Now, Aunt D has betted heavily on Mr. Briscoe’s horse that she does not mind taking a not-so-admirable strategy to make his horse win. Hence the name ‘Aunts are n’t gentlemen’.

The other characters include Miss Cook (who Bertie has proposed once in the past and has been rejected, so sad!), Miss Cook’s current fiancé, a Major Plank (with whom Bertie has had a troubled meeting; fortunately the Major does not recollect the circumstances of the meeting entirely) and Jeeves.

How Bertie spends his supposedly peaceful time at Somerset and tactfully gets in and out of this seemingly flammable situation is the plot.

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The first thing that really struck about this book is its title. Compared to the other ones I chanced upon (Right Ho Jeeves, Thank you Jeeves, etc), in which the title does not convey anything really meaningful, this one is a tad better! Also, one is tempted to evaluate one’s own Aunt’s gentlemanly behavior after this ~180-page-experience.

Interestingly, Jeeves’ role in offering advice is rather limited. I wonder why? But wherever Jeeves comes into play, it is rich with intelligence.

Some text I loved-

he made fiery far-to-the-left speeches, while I was more the sort that is content just to exist beautifully” – Bertie on Miss cook’s fiancé

it was not, of course, the first time an acquaintance had expressed a desire to delve into my interior and remove its contents” – Bertie’s turn in thinking out loud! 🙂

I thought at first that my guardian angel, who had been noticeably lethargic up to this point, had taken a stiff shot of vitamin something and had become the ball of fire he ought to have been right along…” – Bertie’s another ‘loud moment!!

Also, the author might have made a classic mistake. Miss Cook’s fiance in a chat with Bertie uses the term ‘contented hens’ while referring to tasty eggs. A great expression for sure, but Bertie uses the same in Much Obliged, Jeeves! It could have been that Bertie picked up the expression from the ‘fiance, but sounds unlikely!

Anyways, a must read for anyone who loves a good read, humorous writing and Bertie/Woodhouse…

– Arun Vallappan

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