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A Prefect's Uncle - Book Review

By Sukanya Venkatraman

Prologue/Statutory warning/ Cover up : If this ends up seeming like a part of an article that talks about P. G. Wodehouse’s, to put it in lay man’s term, brilliance, than a review of his book, forgiveness is sought. It’s my first of Wodehouse’s books and hence the obvious awe.
A prefect’s uncle, does not, by any stretch of the adjective, have an amazing plot or story line. It does not have deeply distraught, greatly talented and therefore amazing characters. It doesn’t give a new perspective on life or make one sit down and think about the stark realities of the world today.
So why read the book?
Because its an insight into Wodehouse’s brilliance. He is the grandfather who delves into philosophy, but lets you go as deep as you want to into his words. He is the father, who tells you the difference between good and bad. He is also the mother, who tells you that there’s good and bad within all of us, that when asked for forgiveness, the bad must be forgiven, for that’s the good in them. He is the friend, who reminds you of the little things in life. Finally, through his characters – the good-natured Mariott, the typical do-gooder Gethryn, the multi-talented but vain Pringle, the proud but good-at-heart Norris, the reserved, yet not unfriendly Reece, the much despised Monk, the trouble-inviting junior Farnie and the no-nonsense Wilson, he is the amazing narrator, brilliant author and master wordsmith.
A prefect’s uncle is a simple story of a year at Beckford. A typical year, where human characteristics are revealed, prejudices and friendships are formed and broken. The protagonists, with their seemingly ordinary lives, deal with the various ups and downs – the disappearance of Gethryn, one of their main bowlers, during the match against MCC; the rise of an underdog house cricket team and the final victory in the football match in the winter term. 

It is the perfect book to start off your holidays with- not too serious, and as light as you want it to be. It’s an extra-ordinary person’s narrative of ordinary people’s lives, which makes it extra-ordinary. It reminds you of the fact that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously, that one doesn’t grow at his/her turning points, but during the journey before and after.

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Sukanya Venkataraman


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