Mike At Wrykyn by P. G. Wodehouse

Partway through reading this delightful romp of a boarding school tale, I realized that my entire consumption of the genre to date has been nearly exclusively female-centric, starring Enid Blyton’s St Clare’s and Mallory Towers series (of course,) with a side of Elinor Brent-Dyer’s Chalet School and a soupcon of American tales, including the delightful It Girl spinoff of the Gossip Girl series in addition to a 90s series I can’t for the life of me remember the name of or track down on the Internet (if anyone can help, it featured 4 roommates who became penpals with 4 boys from a nearby academy, but then people fell in love with each other’s penpals and jealousy ensued. And someone played tennis, but I suppose that’s a fairly boarding school thing to do.) So it was nice to see the experience from a boy’s (idealized) perspective, and to feel that certain nostalgia at the public school values that shaped my own upbringing, ironically before my own miserable boarding school experience.

Of course, the entire thing is infused with P. G. Wodehouse’s trademark wit. The only reservation I have against recommending this book whole-heartedly is that there is a lot of cricket discussed, and people with little patience for it will find the many pages devoted to the sport rather tough going. I’m personally rather ignorant of the rules of cricket, but I did enjoy the mood evoked, and I think I learned quite a bit. That aside, it was a nice evocation of a less complicated time, written with perhaps a younger target in mind than Sir Wodehouse’s usual audience.

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