Love Among the Chickens

Love Among the Chickens
A Story of the Haps and Mishaps on an English Chicken Farm

By

3.5
(2 Reviews)
Love Among the Chickens by Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

Published:

1920

Pages:

176

Downloads:

7,434

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Love Among the Chickens
A Story of the Haps and Mishaps on an English Chicken Farm

By

3.5
(2 Reviews)
The story is told from the point of view of Jeremy Garnet, an author and an old friend of Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge. Upon meeting Ukridge for the first time in years, Garnet finds himself dragged along on holiday to Ukridge's newly-started chicken farm. From then on the novel intertwines Garnet's difficult wooing of a girl living the estate with the struggles of the farm, and the neighbourhood, to cope with Ukridge's bizarre business methods.

Book Excerpt

d sprung in the first moment of surprise, and that his jaw, which had dropped, had not yet resumed its normal posture. Before committing himself to speech he made a determined effort to revise his facial expression.

"Buck up, old horse," said Ukridge. He had a painful habit of addressing all and sundry by that title. In his school-master days he had made use of it while interviewing the parents of new pupils, and the latter had gone away, as a rule, with a feeling that this must be either the easy manner of genius or spirits, and hoping for the best. Later, he had used it to perfect strangers in the streets. On one occasion he had been heard to address a bishop by that title.

"Surprised to find me married, what? Garny, old boy"--sinking his voice to what was intended to be a whisper--"take my tip. You go and do the same. You feel another man. Give up this bachelor business. It's a mug's game. Go and get married, my boy, go and get married. By gad, I've forgotten to pay the cabby. Half a moment."

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Subtitled "A Story of the Haps and Mishaps on an English Chicken Farm," this is the mildly amusing story of writer Jeremy Garnet, who goes to help his friends the Ukridges start a chicken farm at Lyme Regis, where he falls in love with Phyllis Derrick, the daughter of an irascible Irish professor. This early work shows Wodehouse's promise, but also that he was still learning his craft. The narrative suffers from shifting viewpoints, beginning in third person, switching to first person, and ending in a play script format. The romance occurs more or less in the minds of the protagonists, since their opportunities for meeting are few, and limited. And the potential humor of the chicken farm is far more restrained than it ought to have been. (Read Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I" for a more hilarious look at chicken farming.)Wodehouse called this his least favorite of his books, and you can see why. Still, it's worth reading, if only for passages like this: “Waterloo station is one of the things which no fellow can understand. Thousands come to it, thousands go from it. Porters grow gray-headed beneath its roof. Buns, once fresh and tender, become hard and misanthropic in its refreshment rooms, and look as if they had seen the littleness of existence and were disillusioned. But there the station stands, year after year, wrapped in a discreet gloom, always the same, always baffling and inscrutable.”
A light hearted, yet interesting view of romance and cottage industry. I find the notion of "inexperience" as a requisite to success especially appealling.