I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
[This is an old review, and I had to guess at a star rating. I listened to the LibriVox recording, which can be downloaded here.]
There are times when listening to audio books makes my work go faster. Jill the Reckless made for perfect work-time listening – it was light and funny, and if I happened not to hear every single word it didn't really matter.
When I first started this book, I wasn't sure I'd like Jill. She was very naive, believing that her and Derek's love could easily withstand anything Derek's mother might throw at them. When her Uncle Chris lost all her money, Jill felt more sorry for Chris than for herself, seemingly unaware that her life had just been turned upside down. Of course, at the time she still figured she'd be marrying Derek soon, so I suppose money really wasn't all that big of a concern to her. Jill was nice, almost to a fault – she didn't get even a little angry at her Uncle Chris, despite the fact that anger would have been a perfectly natural emotion for her to feel.
Considering how broke Jill was during most of the book, I'm still not quite sure how she managed to do some things, like traveling to New York to find Uncle Chris. I have no idea how much that would have cost, but I would have thought it was more than she could afford. Maybe if I had been reading the book, rather than listening to it, things like that would have bothered me more.
Because I was listening to it, I mostly just sat back and enjoyed the humor. I appreciated that, although the cast of characters was fairly large, it was still easy to remember who everyone was and what part they played in the story. Derek was a bit of a jerk. His friend Freddie was a genial sort, but not very bright. Uncle Chris was a con-man to his very marrow – one of his few redeeming features was his affection for Jill and desire to make things right by her again (although she wouldn't have had any money problems if he hadn't caused them in the first place). Even the more minor recurring characters tended to be easy to remember and tell apart.
I think the main reason I started to really like Jill was that, although she was naive and nice to a fault, she also had a spine and would only take so much. When Jill was sent to live with Mr. and Mrs. Mariner, she understood that her position was that of a poor relation. Since she had no money, she accepted that she had to repay them in other ways. When Mrs. Mariner asked Jill to read aloud to her, Jill did so without complaint, even though she disliked reading aloud. However, she wasn't a doormat, so when it became clear that she would take on the duties of the Mariners' hired man after he quit, she left at the first opportunity. There were a couple times near the end of the book when Jill was so awesome that I could barely contain my joy, even though she backtracked during one of those awesome moments because she discovered that her success would have come at the result of someone else having been cheated - like I said, Jill is very nice.
Besides Jill, another thing I liked about the book was its romance. Since Jill had both a spine and her pride, she didn't even consider getting back together with Derek when he decided he'd changed his mind about dumping her – thank goodness! She also didn't jump at the first opportunity to end up with another guy, no matter how nice that other guy was. As she said, she had to get past her residual feelings for Derek before she could even think about being with anyone else. As nice as Wally seemed, I wasn't keen on him being her rebound guy, so I was glad of this.
I didn't like the romance between Nelly and Freddie as much as I liked the romance between Jill and Wally, but that was mostly because I was kind of iffy about Nelly. Unlike Jill, Nelly was much more meek. She basically put Freddie on a pedestal - not so surprising, since he gave her much-needed money and asked nothing in return. My problem with this was that Nelly never seemed to realize that Freddie asked for nothing in return not only because he was a nice guy and she was a damsel in distress, but also because the money didn't mean nearly as much to him as it did to her. Also, I felt that Freddie's "love" for Nelly was as much due to her agreeable nature as anything else. He could say something completely idiotic, and I imagine Nelly would still smile and nod as though his every word were gold. Had Nelly and Freddie taken up a larger portion of the book, I might not have enjoyed it so much. Happily, Jill and Wally were the more prominent couple and were, in my opinion, on much more equal footing with each other.
Overall, this was a fun read that put a smile on my face and left me in a good mood after I'd finished. I have a feeling my work-time listening will include more of Librivox's Wodehouse offerings if they're all as enjoyable as this.
I suppose that, since this is an audio book, I should say a bit about the reader. He took a bit for me to get used to - one of these days, I would love to listen to a Wodehouse book read by an English reader. There were times I could practically hear Jenkins reading from a sheet of paper, but at other times he sounded much smoother and more natural. I thought he did a particularly good job with Wally and Uncle Chris's "voices."
(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)