“A Little Something Different” is a romantic comedy for anyone who dabbles in drabbles, a college age meet cute split up into 14 different points of view. When Lea and Gabe bump into each other at the beginning of the semester, their chemistry is obvious to everyone around them, from their best friends, their creative writing teacher, the local Starbucks baristas, to the park bench and a squirrel. With a shared love of “Buffy”, a joint class, and an instant attraction, getting together should be easy. If only Gabe could get over his issues and crippling shyness and Lea could get over her trepidation to make the first move.
While some of the “Jeeves” books are collections of short stories, this one is a solid (though not very long) novel. Its plot, similar to many other adventures of Bertie and his man Jeeves, has to do with mending two broken betrothals, saving an endangered marriage, distributing prizes at a boys’ school, and staving off the resignation of a supremely gifted French chef, all upon a summer holiday in the Worcestershire countryside. In its dimensions, it appears to be a trifling piece of entertainment. In its style of narration, it partakes of the stylish slang of a British upper-class dandy riding the crest of fashion à la 1934.
This is a movie, literally and figuratively, about time. It reminds us all that time is fleeting and to make the most of it, even those who secretly have the power to time travel. Most of all, Tim and his time-traveling father reveal to us the ultimate secret to a happy life.
Though a wistful shadow lies across this book, perhaps in consequence of its author’s failing health, it remains like all her novels a romantic comedy: romantic, because no subject drew on her experience more than the drawing-room society of well-bred and well-off men and women trying to catch wives and husbands; comedies, because she couldn’t dwell long on the subject without an ironic laugh.