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June 09 , 2008

Love Among the Chickens - The Original Classic Edition


Long before there were Jeeves and Gally, P.G. Wodehouse was writing excellent comic novels about the foibles of the English upper classes. A number of these novels were built around the humorous character of Ukridge, a sort of beautiful dreamer who wanders about above the fray of dealing with reality. I recently read a fine companion book about Mr. Wodehouses novels and realized that I had missed some fine early examples. Love Among the Chickens beckoned to me and Im glad it did.

It can be expensive to know Ukridge. Hell invite you out to dinner, discover he has no funds, borrow the funds from you and never pay you back. Needless to say, friends try to avoid him.

Jeremy Garnet, the striving novelist, has successfully avoided his old school chum for some time when bad luck causes Ukridge to find Garnets address. Soon, Ukridge is found barreling through the door along with the new Mrs. Ukridge to invite Garnet to the shore to co found an entrepreneurial enterprise, a chicken farm. In Ukridges eyes, this is a made-to-order money machine. You borrow some chickens, raise some of your own, return the original chickens and your bounty expands from there. Naturally, neither Ukridge nor Garnet have the slightest knowledge or experience about raising chickens to lay eggs.

On the way to the shore, Garnet sees a lovely young woman whos reading one of his novels. Hes immediately smitten, and the complications begin. Without a Jeeves to help him, things go downhill rather rapidly . . . interspaced with modest rallies.

You will enjoy some of the most humorous views of a new chicken farm that you can imagine with this book. What makes it even more delightful is that the books dedication to Bill Townsend in 1920 (to the second edition) makes it clear that the book has nonfiction roots in the real-life adventures of Bills friend on his Devonshire chicken farm.

Like most Wodehouse novels, little time is wasted in building humor and romantic possibilities. Enjoy!

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