My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Were I to go out on a limb, as I am often inclined to do, I would say that this book should be mandatory for engaged couples to read. I read it on a trip recently, and then––as soon as I finished it––I started it again, reading aloud with my wife. First of all, Wodehouse is positively hilarious (especially throughout the first half). Here is a sampling of both his laugh out loud moments and pithy sayings which are sprinkled throughout:
The minding of other people’s business a duty not to be shirked.
[Many suitors had] laid their hearts at her feet. One and all, they had been compelled to pick them up and take them elsewhere.
They have all got little, narrow faces without chins or big, fat faces without foreheads.
Fatted ease is good for no one.
To think humbly of herself was an experience that seldom happened to her.
His face increased the illusion of squareness, for he had thick, straight eyebrows, a straight mouth, and a chin of almost the minimum degree of roundness.
Talent without hard work is a poor weapon.
[The Baby had] a dough-like face almost entirely devoid of nose, a lack-lustre eye, and the general appearance of a poached egg.P.G. Wodehouse, The Coming of Bill
The main arc is that of a young man (Kirk) and woman (Ruth) who fall in love, get married in a whirlwind, have a goodly child (Bill), and then are driven apart due to financial ruin and meddling relatives.
Kirk is the quintessential husband in need of a spine, and Ruth is the quintessential wife in need of submitting. The journey each of them go on to see their besetting sin is both humorous and illuminating. Wodehouse nails how dangerous feminism is in a marriage, especially when a wife listens to someone other than her husband, and how the responsibility for the marriage lies at the feet of the husband.
A good novel is like a mirror that shows you your own tendencies towards the follies being displayed by the characters. Wodehouse makes it clear that busybodies are just the worst, and common sense courage is just the best. Men need to work hard and love their wives, wives need to honor their husbands and care for the children.
This really was a terrific novel. Perfect reading during a national quarantine.