So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just feel rather “meh” about and they don’t seem worth writing an entire post about. However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something. So I’ve started a monthly post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.
Crazy Kill Range by Rutherford Montgomery
When I reviewed an earlier book of Montgomery’s, Midnight: Wild Stallion of the West, I talked about Grosset & Dunlap’s “Famous Horse Stories.” Crazy Kill Range is another of these books, set in the same region as Midnight, and tells the story of one of Midnight’s sons. Actually, Crazy Kill Range is a story that is almost exactly like Midnight. A mare escapes captivity and is added to a wild stallion’s band; her son grows into a strong and mighty stallion. In the meantime, there are little stories of wilderness life in the west.
All in all, Crazy Kill Range wasn’t a bad book, but it also didn’t really feel different enough from Midnight to justify its own story. Interestingly enough, this book is not on GoodReads at all, so I must not be the only person to feel rather ambivalent towards it.
Not George Washington by P.G. Wodehouse and Herbert Westbrook
This was a strange sort of book, billed as “semi-autobiographical,” I think it’s mostly because it’s about a young man struggling to make it as a writer in the same time period as Wodehouse and Westbrook were doing so. So while I’m sure some of those aspects were drawn from life, the actual story of James doesn’t seem to particularly parallel Wodehouse’s all that much (although I don’t know anything about Westbrook).
It’s funny because Wodehouse was quite insistent that Westbrook have equal or greater credit for writing this book, but my Kindle edition only shows Wodehouse as the author (as does the picture of the cover I found)!
All in all, this is a book that I wanted to like better than I did. I realized at the end that the problem was that I didn’t really care for the main character. James is a bit of a self-centered jerk, so I didn’t really care all that much about his problems. It’s interesting because the reason that Wodehouse’s books are such a delight is because basically no one is a jerk – even the “bad guys” are sincere. So it was intriguing to see an earlier stage of this, or maybe it’s due to Westbrook’s influence, where several of the characters weren’t particularly likable.
While it was good to get away from the school stories, Not George Washington didn’t particularly capture me. It had its moments of interest and humor, but overall James was just too obnoxious for me to really enjoy the story.