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The Golden Bat - PG Wodehouse

Book Review

By Anusmita Datta

There is a reason why people around the world love P.G. Wodehouse. He can make anyone connect to any story, no matter how little the reader may know about the world of British private schools. I must thank my high school English Literature teacher- Mrs. D'souza for including P.G. Wodehouse books into the curriculum. The gold bat is one of his early works and maybe that's why it deals with teen school life so brilliantly.
 
My edition (the Indian edition)is called The Gold Bat & other stories though i did not come across any other story, but I'm not complaining. P.G. Wodehouse shows us what’s wrong with modern literature and culture- too much sex, drama, tension and pessimism. For the first time in a long time I read a book and laughed heartily at the subtle, sarcastic and light-hearted humour. Not every piece of fiction has to be grandiose. A true work of great literature is turning a mundane event into a page turner. 

The Gold Bat , is set in the fictional private school called Wrykyn . The popular school prefect and captain of the school and Donaldson house rugby team- Trevor, is in the middle of a crisis as his precious 'Gold Bat', which is given to captain of the winning cricket team, is lost by his friend, and resident slacker, O'Hara and which shows up at a crime scene. The plot further thickens when the dreaded 'League' is resurrected and begins to sabotage Trevor's efforts at building a winning Rugby team to win the match against arch rivals- The Ripton school. 
 
Having studied in a British style school myself I could completely relate to the story although this one is set in an all-boys school. The "prefects", "houses", school rivalry, strict rules, eccentric school traditions and fierce loyalty can be recognized by anyone who has studied in British - era Indian schools.
 
I find present day depictions of school life to be completely unfathomable and secretly thank the heavens that I graduated a long time back. I still refuse to believe that teenage life is as dreary as portrayed on "The Gossip Girl", "Pretty little liars", "Modern Family" or our very own "Remix". 
 
The story weaves through the eccentricities of British schools and one can't help but think of the famed "Eton" as one reads the book. The symbiotic and complex relationship between a senior and a "fag" (I hear this term is not in use anymore for obvious reasons albeit the innocent meaning here!), the students’ studies, tea brewing and Greek lessons conjure up images of jovial, snooty, polite and perfectly well groomed Englishman- just how we imagine them always! 

Oh why did the Americans have to ruin dry British sarcasm with their crass toilet humour. I must say I'm mighty glad and chuffed to bits that I found me this book at the right time. It's high time I returned to my favourite author. To P.G.Wodehouse- I salute thee!!!

About the author: Ardent daydreamer, avid reader, lover of languages and currently looking for a career to follow.

 

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