Laughing Gas

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Laughing Gas

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Jul 9, 2008, 4:40 pm

Has anyone read it? Can you offer a critique?

I found a pocket paperback at a used book store in Astoria the other day and bought it because I am compulsive about reading every PGW book. But it is not a book I've heard of. It looks like its a one-off, although maybe it ties into one of the series.

According to the back, it looks like it is a version of Freaky Friday -- an adult and a child switch bodies with each other after both inhaling laughing gas at the dentist.

Sounds silly, but in Wodehouse's hands, it hopefully will be good.

Jul 25, 2008, 11:11 am

I read Laughing Gas by PG Wodehouse a few years ago and remember really enjoying it. It is indeed a one-off. It takes place in Hollywood, and is silly and very amusing. There were several characters whose jobs were to nod their heads in agreement at all times, and I remember laughing out loud. Oh man, I may have to re-read it!

I hope you enjoy!

Jul 25, 2008, 11:55 am

Definitely read it! As Ellabuell says, there are some very funny bits in it about Hollywood studios, child stars and Prohibition, amongst other things. The supernatural "body-swap" plot device is unusual for Wodehouse - the only time he uses something like that in a mature novel - but once you've got over that, it works very well. There are quite strong similarities to the Mulliner stories with Hollywood settings, but I don't think any important characters from other stories appear.

Ago 2, 2008, 5:19 pm

Sounds great! Now I am really looking forward to it.

Maio 13, 2010, 5:18 pm

Funny it's one of the 10 last books to read of PGW for me and I just quitted reading after the visit at the dentist!
I put a visirt card there because I know I'm going to read it.
Anyhow I think it takes you are in a special mode, I suppose.
So I switched to another one that I waited long and nearly had decided not to read.
His posthuma Sunset at blandings of which I read 60 pages now.
I found for ONCE that the notes by Usborne makes the book lift ;-)

Maio 13, 2010, 8:11 pm

Laughing Gas will always have a special place on my shelf because it was my first Wodehouse. I remembering belly-laughing while reading it, with a vague feeling of surprise that a printed page could be so funny. Enjoy :)

Maio 14, 2010, 3:36 am

I agree with all the others: it's an unusual, but well-written and amusing Wodehouse.

The thing about it which has most obviously dated (apart from the fact that dentists don't administer general anaesthetics in their surgeries any more!) is the stuff relating to the child film stars - Shirley Temple and the rest.

Maio 14, 2010, 6:09 pm

>2 ellabuell: I'm sure that I have come across the 'nodders' in other books - I'll bet somebody here can tell me which!

Maio 15, 2010, 3:02 am

>8 abbottthomas: There are nodders in two or three of the Hollywood stories in the collection misleadingly entitled 'Blandings Castle'. (The full title is 'Blandings Castle and elsewhere'!)