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The Coming Of Bill

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In P.G. Wodehouse's novel, The Coming of Bill, Ruth Bannister and Kirk Winfield don't have much, but as long as they have each other, they are content. Life seems perfect for the little family until one dark day when bad news about their finances threatens Ruth and Kirk's happiness. Kirk realizes that his family's security rests on his shoulders and resolves to save them f ...more
Kindle Edition, Everyman Wodehouse
Published (first published 1919)
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Maybe 3.5 stars. While I enjoyed this early Wodehouse, it was more realistic satire than the zaniness I am used to in his more famous books! The tongue-in-cheek commentary about love versus money would make a great film I think (and Wodehouse did write some good Hollywood scripts).

While I own this Kindle book, I actually listened to it via the Librivox recording.
Every word I've read by Wodehouse is enjoyable -- I like his plots and characters -- even his obnoxious Lora Delane Porter in this story. It amazes me how everyone crumbled to her words andd made me wonder if I could have stood up to her. The fact that someone finally did cheered me no end. The entire story cheered me -- I like happy endings.
Well, so... Wodehouse's writing style is just the same (i.e. great). But the book is... not funny. A large majority of it is about a marriage falling to pieces. And while that theme has its own... poignancy, when combined with Wodehouse's writing, it's still not what one wants or expects when one turns to a Wodehouse book.

There was a happy ending, of course, but it felt incredibly tacked-on and unrealistic.
Apparently one of the few semi serious books written by P G Wodehouse and not one his better works in my opinion. A book with eugenics as the theme was hardly going to be a bundle of laughs but when presented by typically Wodehouse characters it really didn't work for me. Neither a serious treatment of this rather sinister subject nor the sparklingly frivolous caricatures of Bertie Wooster's familiar circle.
Much more satirical (to the point of being much less funny!) than the mainstream of his later work, this book explores many political and social themes of the time with elegantly turned phrases and Wodehouse's genius for timing.

I continue to prefer books written 90 years ago and set in the present to books written now and set 90 years ago. I can't tell if its the language or the unspoken social conventions that seem so much more authentic. Maybe I'm a chronological snob. Anyway, this book is a p
Marts  (Thinker)
Mrs. Porter considers Kirk a perfect husband for her perfect niece and when they eventually get married and have a child she insists that he must also be perfect, but her constant intrusion into their union becomes a major imperfection in their lives...
Steve Smoot
Eugencis meets upper crust NY socialites. Ok.
Wodehouse apparently dabbled in domestic romance in the early days. You can almost see him wrestling with his sense of humor in this, trying to keep it straight. The ubiquitous prize fighter is there, the foolish rich folk and the fearsome middle-aged female are all there. The typical Wodehouse way of describing a baby (beautiful to the parents but generally giving the appearance of a boiled egg to others) is there. He's found the elements of his voice, but hasn't polished him the way he does la ...more
I've been reading Wodehouse's light domestic comedies at bedtime the past couple months because I enjoy his predictability: the hero and/or heroine always ends up in a happy situation, although circumstances and well-meaning (and sometimes not-so-well-meaning) relatives often conspire to cause chaos.

This book started out in the typical way, but Wodehouse decided to use eugenics as the strange idea that influenced his characters. He likes to choose some fad that influences at least some of the c
Thom Swennes
Lives change, people and their circumstances change with the passing of time; the evolution of life is as sure as life itself. The old adage that money can’t buy happiness is illustrated in this timeless tale. This book is a great example of P.G. Wodehouse’s versatility in prose on either side of the Atlantic. The Coming of Bill takes place in the United States and I think the writer’s interpretation of Americans and the American way of life (during the first quarter of the twentieth century) is ...more
Not as fun as most Wodehouse novels. One underlying trendy theme (well, trendy for early 1920s) covered here is the popularity of abscribing to germ theories, which taken to extremes at it is can of course be sterilizing in both literal and metaphorical ways. Another more troubling then trendy theme also given a lot of attention in this novel is eugenics, which it is hard to get me to laugh about, and although interesting as a historical phenomenon, troubling in how many of its assertions were t ...more
Ian Wood
Sep 26, 2007 Ian Wood rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wodehouse completis only
Shelves: p-g-wodehouse
Unlike the bulk of P G Wodehouse’s lexicon ‘The Coming of Bill’ is not a farce but a story which under uses the comic characters Wodehouse attempts to shoehorn into his unfamiliar framework. The Butler is Keggs, familiar from his appearance as ‘The Good Angel’ in ‘The Man Upstairs and other Stories’ and also ‘A Damsel in Distress’ but his appearance is really a waste of a good name. Keggs’ appears to realise that he is wasted in the piece and gives an unconvincing performance.

The language is sti
While I own this Kindle book, I actually listened to it via the Librivox recording. I sampled both of the recordings of this novel that Librivox has, started off with version 2 and ended up switching to this recording (I guess you could call it version 1). Neither of them were top-notch but both were pretty good single narrator recordings. I just found that in version 2, the narrator had a habit of pausing that disconcerted me.

For comments about the plot, see my review of the Kindle book.
Interesting early romance-novel Wodehouse, before Jeeves and Wooster, before Blandings Castle, and before Wodehouse perfected his incomparable comic genius groove -- though there are some pretty dashed clever chuckles scattered about. If you can get past the vernacular misspellings and the boxing jargon that muddies much of the dialogue, you will find, as you slog through the heavy-handed constructions of character and motive, that the expository passages are made out of those elegant syntactica ...more
I did not read reviews before I read this, though Wodehouse is my favorite author of all time. But I was shocked to find, after the fact, that this is one of his early works. It begins with classic Wodehousian charm and wit, but halfway through it gets serious. So much so that I thought it must be a late book, when the author felt free to write closer to home. It has the ring of personal experience in his descriptions of the widening gulf between husband and wife, his long absence (as of war), h ...more
Shashank Garg
The light hearted humor of Jeeves and Wooster universe and of that of Blandings Castle falls in sharp contrast with a serious, more realistic and practical work as The Coming of Bill. It's not an all out romantic novel, which Wodehouse gave a demonstration of in The Adventures of Sally, and nor does it fall in with his unmatched, witty escapades of his other characters, but this rather appears as a heartfelt attempt at covering the troubles of a married couple who find themselves suddenly out of ...more
Patrisia Sheremeta
I had to keep checking to make sure that this book was actually written by Wodehouse. The writing style had his signature wit, but the story actually had some depth. This is not a dig at Wodehouse - I love him for his silly stories and the fact that nothing really bad ever happens to the characters in his novels. So this one really surprised me, and I enjoyed it very much.
This is more serious than (the large amount of) Wodehouse's other stuff I've read. His gift for commentary definitely shows up most noticeably in pure comedy. But even in drama he is highly competent, and this book is well done and enjoyable. It's just not what I expect from Wodehouse.
I will use this "review" for all the P. G. Wodehouse I have read. I read them all so long ago and enjoyed them so much that I have given them all 5 stars. As I re-read them I will adjust the stars accordingly, if necessary, and add a proper review.
When I first discovered P. G. Wodehouse I devoured every book I could find in the local library, throughout the eighties and early nineties. Alas, this means that I have read most of them and stumbling across one I have not read is a rare thing. I'm su
Yatin Diwakar
This is my first ever Wodehouse. Didn't know that i had selected a wrong one as i expected something funnier. But i loved it. After a point, it turned gripping and i couldn't keep it down till i had finished it.
Kristen Smith
This is a must-read for parents, especially fathers. Courtship, marriage, having children, and supporting a family is the hardest, most important work there is. I love this book because, despite difficulties and separation, Bill and his love don't give up and they, gasp, even...well, that would spoil the ending. This is an old-fashioned, modern story. Old-fashioned in that the tradition of family is upheld, modern in the literary sense. P. G. Wodehouse is serious and funny and brilliant in the s ...more
Jeff Short
I quite enjoyed this book, though it is a little different than the others I have read. Wodehouse is always humorous and it was a little more subtle in this one. This story did include a meddling, troublesome aunt, and Mrs. Porter takes the cheese in her class. The story did lag a little, though the denouement tied it all up to most satisfaction.
The Coming of Bill represents Wodehouse's attempt at a serious novel. Much like his attempts at crime fiction, the book is not up to his usual comic standards, but highly competent nonetheless. I would recommend it to Wodehouse fans who want to know the entire oeuvre, but if you're just looking to dip into Wodehouse, go with Bertie and Jeeves. At times, the book feels more like a treatment for a movie than a novel. The characters are sketched out and then left to fend for themselves at key momen ...more
Z Coonen
Clever characters. Love Steve the boxer's colloquialisms. A Wodehouse love story. Who knew?
Look, they can't all be winners. It honestly feels like someone else wrote this.
Tej Rathore
Not a typical Wodehouse.
Classic Wodehouse. Don't pick this up thinking that you're getting Jeeves and Wooster. Their Mutual Child is biting social commentary of early twentieth-century NYC. He slices and dices not just the idle rich, but also the OTT, gun-ho American spirit of the time, and intellectual progressives who saw eugenics as the way to "improve" society. The stereotypes are pretty broad early on, but as reality sinks into his characters' thick heads, they become much more real. Funny and poignant.
Prasad GR
This is a different Wodehouse, from the one I have known through Jeeves, Bertie, Smith et al. And how different he is! Having listened to this audio book soon after reading The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, i couldn't help wondering which of these is the better novel on the Jazz Age. It was refreshing to see a serious Wodehouse, but a little disappointing too for the dearth of his trademark humour. Interesting book nonetheless.
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Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, was a comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success during a career of more than seventy years and continues to be widely read over 40 years after his death. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of prewar English upper-class so ...more
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“If you are ignorant of Lora Delane Porter’s books that is your affair. Perhaps you are more to be pitied than censured. Nature probably gave you the wrong shape of forehead. Mrs. Porter herself would have put it down to some atavistic tendency or pre-natal influence. She put most things down to that. She blamed nearly all the defects of the modern world, from weak intellects to in-growing toe-nails, on long-dead ladies and gentlemen who, safe in the family vault, imagined that they had established their alibi. She subpoenaed grandfathers and even great-grandfathers to give evidence to show that the reason Twentieth-Century Willie squinted or had to spend his winters in Arizona was their own shocking health ‘way back in the days beyond recall.” 2 likes
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