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The Girl on the Boat  By  cover art

The Girl on the Boat

By: P. G. Wodehouse
Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
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Publisher's Summary

Wilhemina 'Billie' Bennett, red-haired daughter of an American millionaire, loves golf, dogs, and Tennyson ¿ and is to marry Eustace Hignett, the weak, poetry-writing son of a famous English writer on theosophy. Enter San Marlowe, Eustace's tournament golfing cousin, and Jane Hubbard, Billie's big-game-hunting friend, and another romp in the inimitable Wodehouse style unfolds.
Right ho, Jeeves: listen to more from P. G. Wodehouse.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Has many of the qualities of the author's more mature later novels (eccentric characters, clever farce, and inventive metaphors), as well as the additional charm of being a diamond in the rough....Frederick Davidson, as usual, adds to the fun with his energetic reading." (Library Journal)

What listeners say about The Girl on the Boat

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A Musical Comedy Without Music

That's how Wodehouse described the kind of stories he wrote. The alternative, he said, was "going right down deep into life and not giving a damn." Given the unbridled, nearly-unfailing enjoyment his 90+ books can be counted on to deliver, we should be glad he didn't choose the alternative.

Girl on the Boat is a fine example. Wodehouse had the ability to render almost anything into comedy. Here it starts with the book's forward, written to dispel the notion that a certain incident might have been cribbed from another contemporary writer's work. What could sound defensive or snarfy is instead funny, lighthearted and self-deprecating.

Then there's the story: In this corner, a young woman with impossibly high standards (her model is Tennyson's Galahad). And in the other corner, a young man who meets those standards by willfully manipulating the facts. This could easily become high tragedy. Instead, you get scenes like--well, I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'll just say it involves the girl, the young man's father's clerk, a few well-crafted fibs and an over-sized pistol.

Another wonder: Wodehouse keeps you interested, even empathetic toward these two essentially shallow, less-than-likable characters. Perhaps we like them as they are because that's what generates all the fun. His greatest triumph in this line is probably Ukridge, a man one can enjoy only through the medium of print (or audio book); get him at closer range and he starts trying to borrow a fiver.

Related to this is one of the oddest aspects of Wodehouse: though his tales play out in the never-never world of musical comedy (no one dies, the World Wars are barely mentioned and work, if it happens, takes place off stage) he creates characters that make us sit up and say, "I know that guy" or even "he's got my number". Tucked in among the fun are sharp observations of our motivations, fears and foibles.

Finally, there is Frederick Davidson. In one short story Wodehouse describes a woman striking a young man's fancy as if she had been constructed according to his exact specifications. I always feel Wodehouse would have felt the same way about Davidson's performances of his work.

9 people found this helpful

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the best way to enjoy Wodehouse

I've tried reading several of Wodehouse's books and even listened to some on audio read by volunteers for the public domain. I've never really been hooked until this story and particularly this narrator. the wit of the author is perfectly conveyed by this narrator, really perfect reading and tone. I genuinely laughed out loud at many parts of this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Utterly hilarious!

This is a brilliant book and totally hilarious. I loved every minute of it!
Awesome read... ended too quickly.

2 people found this helpful

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A good listen

It's PG Wodehouse. What can I say. 15 minutes later you won't remember the plot or the characters, but the book moves along briskly and is and funny and good listen for a rainy day chore. Davidson reads him well, with lovely variations in the accents and voices.

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Classic Wodehouse—entertaining, funny, and excellent performance

The story moves along at a good clip, lots of great Wodehouse turns of phrase, and Frederick Davidson is excellent narrating as usual.

1 person found this helpful

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A Little Too Whiny

Too much whining in this story for me. Had to stop it toward the end. It was just too much. The book might be better tolerated.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Amusing but a little lacking.

I've long been a fan of PGW but found this story not to my particular fancy. Certainly, it has its amusing moments but I found both the lead characters (Sam & Billie) annoying, self- absorbed & not at all endearing.
The narrator was quite expressive but I found his consistent use of a strong upward vocal inflection, at the end of all most phrases, very irritating. Give me Jonathon Cecil or Martin Jarvis as PGW narrators any day!
I usually enjoy revisiting PGW books a number of times but The Girl On The Boat will be a one time only listen or read.

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Pleasant

Loving P. G. Wodehouse as light relief during the pandemic. Still, this was too silly for me.

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Fun Story - Loved It!

With elephant guns firing, the need for gun control was never so clear ;). It's no wonder that even the cake hound survived to the end. Everything I come to expect in a Wodehouse novel.

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Not as fantastic as other PG stories

Though I usually love a nutty PG story, this wasn’t as stellar as some. Maybe it was the narration?? Perhaps some of the characters weren’t as lovable?? Of course, a redeeming grace is Wodehouse’s turn of phrase. He does provide some laugh out loud moments.

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  • Cathy T, London
  • 08-08-21

Terrible narration of Wodehouse - PLEASE RE-RECORD

I love PG Wodehouse stories and I literally couldn't listen to this narrator. Audible PLEASE RE-RECORD!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • R
  • 12-23-11

Not the best Wodehouse but still enjoyable

I would recommend many other Wodehouse books before this one but this is still funny. I don't think the plot is as clever as Wodehouse plots can be, but it is not rubbish by any means.

2 people found this helpful

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  • T W.
  • 04-14-22

dreary narration

Mr Davidson is not a skilful reader of P G Wodehouse. His dreary style fails to bring out the humour of the prose. Jonathan Cecil, Martin Jarvis, Jeremy Sinden but NOT Frederick Davidson!

1 person found this helpful

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  • T Alexander
  • 02-16-22

A lovely story but with some irritating characters

I know that many wonderful stories have irritating characters in them, however with this story I found myself feeling rather annoyed and discontented due to their actions and felt that it might have been better if I could see things from Billy's point of view and therefore had more sympathy for someone who had difficult decisions to make. Very much worth a listen as I think all Wodehouse books are.

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  • Peter R
  • 02-12-22

Dreadful narrator ruins book

I really don't like this narrator's snide, disdainful tone of voice. Ruins the book. Please someone replace all this narrator's Wodehouse recordings with someone suitable for P G Wodehouse, eg the excellent Jonathan Cecil, who always does a marvellous job of Wodehouse novels.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cdb
  • 01-28-22

not a happy ending story

very disappointing. the girl of the title seems emotionally retarded. she is at the hero worshipping stage which makes 13 year olds daydream over pictures of film stars. the central character is a young man who appears to have several personality defects. he is antisocial and has no conscience. he likes to get his own way at any cost to other people. he pursues the girl, finally kidnapping her physically and driving away with her in a dangerous manner. this is not one of Mr Woodhouses happy ending stories. the young man will a Curly quickly get bored having succeeded in getting his own way and the girl will finish up damaged emotionally if not physically.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicola
  • 08-09-21

Not his best…

…but nevertheless very witty and laugh out loud in spots. Not so keen on this narrator though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Julian Franklin
  • 11-30-22

Rather annoyingly read

I couldn't stick it at any price! I cannot comment on the qualities of the story as I only managed about 6 minutes Frederick Davidson's sneering recitation of this book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-02-22

Second Time

Read (or rather listened to) this one before but it is still as funny and fresh as the first time.

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  • JP
  • 09-29-22

Fabulous Wodehouse

Loved this. Narrator great. Wodehouse humour and 1920s life. He has a fabulous way with words.

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  • R. J. Mccoy
  • 07-06-22

Wodehouse at his best

What a gem, having devoured all available PGW this was very pleasant discovery when I thought I had exhausted the canon