Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Gem Collector by PG Wodehouse

Rating: 8/10

Published: 1909
Number of pages: 208

Started: 19 August 2008
Finished: 28 August 2008

Summary (taken and edited from Wikipedia):

Sir James Willoughby Pitt, baronet, a former jewel thief who was expelled from Eton and has since inherited wealth, is in London and bored with life. Seeing a stranger in need in a restaurant, he comes to his aid, and so befriends Spennie Blunt. He later encounters Spike Mullins, a former American criminal associate, who has fled to England and fallen on hard times. Pitt takes him in.

From there on it's a typically Wodehousian romantic farce, set at the stately Dreever Castle, overflowing with imposters, detectives, crooks, scheming lovers and conniving aunts.

A reasonably short story and very enjoyable. Wodehouse is terrific and I've been building up quite the collection of his works of late. This one is actually an earlier, serialised version of a story that became the longer A Gentleman of Leisure.

A terrific read; light and funny. Recommended.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Rating: 7/10

Published: 2005
Number of pages: 413

Started: 15 August 2008
Finished: 21 August 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognises that his daughter has Down's syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own.

This book is quite a downer. It's hard to feel sympathy for any of the characters. Although I understand the reasons behind David's decision, it's still hard to comprehend. And he had so many opportunities to rectify it, but he chose not to. It's very frustrating and depressing to read about these people living their sad and difficult lives because of one man's decision.

I read the book so long ago that the details are a bit hazy. Despite my gripes I apparently thought highly enough of it to give it a 7, so it must have had some good qualities. Interesting to see how one decision can so deeply affect your own life and that of everyone around you.

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