Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Right Ho, Jeeves" by P. G. Wodehouse

Boychik Lit Book Reviews - No. 5 - KRLA 870 AM Los Angeles

Set in the Roaring 'Twenties, Right Ho, Jeeves by the British humorist P.G. Wodehouse is a collection of stories about a young wealthy gentleman, Bertie Wooster, and his manservant Jeeves. Bertie is well-meaning, but lazy and not particularly bright. He freely admits Jeeves is the brainy one. Bertie always makes a mess of getting a chum out of romantic or money trouble, and Jeeves always comes up with a some cockeyed scheme that saves the day.
Just after World War I, the male population of Europe had been decimated by the war. Bertie’s comic fear of his dowager aunt reflected the reality that much of England’s  private wealth was then in the hands of older women. Young men like him who had been infants during the war were so appalled by the state of the world that they coped by acting like bratty little boys who refused to grow up.
So – avoid responsibility, romantic entanglements, and financial conundrums. Fear marriage and anyone in uniform. Pursue amusement, particularly if a practical joke will end in what Bertie’s chums call a "good wheeze." Fraternize with like-minded adult males who, despite their elevated social standing, aspire to remain boys. Encourage food fights, but only with dinner rolls so as not to create a mess for which responsibility would have to be assumed. Coordinate rugby scrums in the clubroom, but only if fragile crockery has first been cleared. Solving real-world problems (such as romantic entanglements) by way of practical jokes and stratagems might not work but it's always worth a good try.
Our world – like his – is anything but silly these days. But sometimes what Bertie called a “good wheeze” is just the thing to put a chap right.
For Boychik Lit, I’m Gerald Everett Jones. You’ll find some silliness in my novel Mr. Ballpoint, and you can listen to these audio reviews on
Read my longer review of Right Ho, Jeeves here and on

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan

Boychik Lit Book Reviews = No. 4 - KRLA 870 AM Los Angeles

Sweet Tooth by Ian MacEwan is a British spy novel about and narrated by a female operative. She’s a bright, Cambridge math wiz recruited by the secret service to mislead an aspiring novelist into becoming an anti-Communist propaganda tool. It’s not about murder or mayhem so much as violence to the truth – the dirty business of government-sponsored disinformation. No big surprise, she falls in love with him and they begin an affair. Problem is, she can never bring herself to tell him that he’s her joe and she’s playing him for a fool. But it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that eventually this plot gets pulled inside out, when we learn the novelist has been spying on her all along. In the end, it’s all about betrayal – as all good spy novels are – about the lies we tell to get what we want while protecting ourselves. I think you’ll enjoy Sweet Tooth, but you might not ever look at your sweetheart quite the same way again.

For Boychik Lit, I'm Gerald Everett Jones. Pick up my new humorous novel Mr. Ballpoint, and follow my rants on

Cross-posted to

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gerald talks with Chris Poublon on WCAP radio Midday Cafe

Host Jack Baldwin was under the weather that day, so producer Chris Poublon interviewed me on the air for a full 20-minute segment. Chris had received an advance review copy of Mr. Ballpoint, and I believe him when he said he read it and was thoroughly entertained. We talked about the Pen Wars and about why there aren't more father-son comedies. I was also able to describe how one of  huckster Milton Reynolds' promotions backfired when he inscribed hundreds of pens with "I Swiped This Pen from Harry S. Truman."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes

Boychik Lit Book Reviews - No. 3 - KRLA 870 AM Los Angeles

Three years ago, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes won Britain’s top literary prize. You will either be fascinated by this book, or it just might infuriate you.
Main character Tony Webster is middle-aged and reflecting back on his life. Just when he thinks he has it all sorted, he has to cope with troublesome consequences from choices he made as a young man. He has to face the possibility that he may have been responsible for his best friend’s death, and he may be the father of an illegitimate child.
The two people who know the facts are gone. The third isn’t talking, and her diary, which could have revealed everything, is probably lost.
Barnes shows us how Tony rewrites history so as to make himself the hero of his own story. Or, at the very least, justify his actions. And, so do all of us. Families, communities, and nations continually adjust the favorable light on their actions over time.
Why might you be infuriated? Because, bravely I think for an author, Barnes provides only the sense of an ending.
For Boychik Lit, I’m Gerald Everett Jones. Read my hilarious new novel Mr.Ballpoint, and follow my rants at

Full Review (cross-posted on

Spoiler Alert!

In terms of overt clues and Adrian's equation, Adrian had an affair (perhaps not so brief, near the end of his life) with Veronica's mother Sarah, who bore the child, also named Adrian, who was later sent (after Sarah's death?) to a caregiver facility.
I think what nags at Tony at the end is that there are other possibilities that could fit the evidence better. Unless Veronica spills it, or Adrian's diary is not burnt after all, Tony can never know for sure. In all scenarios he's guilty, in some achingly more than in others.
The child could have been Veronica's by Adrian or by Tony. The memory of the trip to the river seems to imply a night of unprotected, romantic sex. Sarah might have cared for the baby when Veronica couldn't, or wouldn't. Veronica's pregnancy would have been when she and Adrian were newlyweds. He might have died thinking the baby was his. Or sure that it wasn't. Or not sure at all and tormented by it.
Tony says the child (seen now as a young man) looks like the presumed father, his old friend Adrian. But did Tony look like Adrian? Is Tony looking into a mirror and denying the familiarity he sees? Is Tony's remarking on the resemblance a clue to throw us off the track?
The child could have been Sarah's by Tony. This strange possibility best explains: 1) Sarah's bequest, 2) Veronica's rage, and 3) Sarah's enigmatic parting gesture to Tony, implying a secret they shared (that she'd seduced him during the visit). The fact that Adrian has repressed the memory of the sex act (but not the washing up after) would seem totally implausible, except in the context of this book which is all about how our minds rewrite history to suit our opinion of ourselves.
It's a mind twister, and credit Barnes for giving plenty of clues but being brave enough to perplex his readers by providing only the sense of an ending.