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The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

>> Friday, January 25, 2008

Genre: Humor
Publication Date: 1923
Pages: 226
Challenges:
Decades 08 #2 (1920’s), A-Z Reading #6 (I Title)

Delightful! Simply delightful. First of all a great big THANK YOU to
Framed & Booked whose review of Jeeves in the Morning convinced me to put this book on my list for the Decades challenge. I will definitely be reading more of the Jeeves series.

Jeeves is the very proper valet of Bertie Wooster. Bertie is aristocratic, well enough off to have no apparent occupation, and somewhat prone to getting himself into situations. Luckily Jeeves usually manages to help things work out for the best.

This book is more like a related series of vignettes than one continuous story. There are a couple of recurring themes in the stories – one of which is Jeeves’ disapproval of various wardrobe items that Bertie wants to wear. Bertie’s friend Bingo Little is hilarious – he falls immediately and madly in love with just about every woman he meets. Bertie’s Aunt Agatha is overbearing, but a hoot and I think I really would have liked Uncle Henry:

My late Uncle Henry, you see, was by way of being the blot on the Wooster escutcheon. An extremely decent chappie personally, and one who had always endeared himself to me by tipping me with considerable lavishness when I was at school, but there’s no doubt he did at times do rather rummy things, notably keeping eleven pet rabbits in his bedroom; and I suppose a purist might have considered him more or less off his onion. In fact, to be perfectly frank, he wound up his career, happy to the last and completely surrounded by rabbits, in some sort of home.
I was pleasantly surprised to find myself smiling and giggling at humor that was written in the 1920’s. There is, of course, some dated material, but much of it has stood the test of time.

Although letters of introduction aren’t commonplace, the rest of this particular passage could be out of a modern comedy routine (except for the fact that a modern comedian probably couldn’t pull it off without a string of foul language).

You know, the longer I live, the more clearly I see that half the trouble in this bally world is caused by the light-hearted and thoughtless way in which chappies dash off letters of introduction and hand them to other chappies to deliver to chappies of the third part. It’s one of those things that make you wish you were living in the Stone Age. What I mean to say is, if a fellow in those days wanted to give anyone a letter of introduction, he had to spend a month or so carving it on a large-sized boulder and the chances were that the other chappie got so sick of lugging the thing round in the hot sun that he dropped it after the first mile. But nowadays it’s so easy to write letters of introduction that everybody does it without a second thought, with the result that some perfectly harmless cove like myself gets in the soup.

12 comments:

Steve Emery 1/25/2008 9:29 PM  

I love these books, too. Bertie is wonderful to follow through his lengthy and inimitable prattle, and Jeeves, with his frequent "sir"s and pronouncements, is bracing in comparison. "There is no occasion, sir, at which neckties are not required." Glad you enjoyed it - the books that are all one story have the beauty of the scrapes building and compounding from chapter to chapter until it all comes out in the end (always with the helping hand of Jeeves). Happy reading.

Carrie 1/25/2008 9:41 PM  

Wodehouse is just so fun. I typically like anything by him. So glad to hear you enjoyed Jeeves. Welcome to the club!

Bybee 1/26/2008 6:30 AM  

I think I'm going to ask some people here who are from the UK if they have any Wodehouse. I've never read him; it's a shameful gap in my history with literature.

Didn't Hugh Laurie play Bertie a few years ago? Hard to imagine, because I'm so used to him as House!

judypatooote 1/26/2008 7:37 AM  

Hi Susie, thanks I will add this one to my list....I ordered Aunt Dimity's first book on ebay....I think this is such a good idea, having a blog on the books one reads, that I started one also. It is called "Coffee and a Good Book - Heaven.." judy

Framed 1/26/2008 8:32 AM  

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I've only read the one but plan on reading more. I also want to watch some of the TV series. I hear it's hilarious.

Girl Detective 1/26/2008 8:51 AM  

I found your link from Semicolon. I have loved the tv series, and am amazed at the contrast between Laurie's silly English Bertie and the dour AMerican House. The books sit on my shelf, and your post spurs me to get to them soon!

SuziQoregon 1/26/2008 3:32 PM  

Steve: thanks for visiting - I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of these.

Carrie: yes - fun is a perfect word.

Bybee: Hope you give Wodehouse a try - amazing that the humor stands the test of time.

Judy: good for you for sarting your own book blog - I've had a ton of fun with mine. Love the name of yours.

Framed: thanks for the nudge to put this on on my Decades challenge list - I want to watch some of the TV series, but I think I'll read a few more of the books first.

Girl Detective: So Hugh Laurie played Bertie?? Not what I would expect from his House character.

Susan 1/28/2008 6:10 AM  

I love the quotes - the book sounds fun. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review.

Booklogged 1/28/2008 9:24 PM  

You do so well to remember who recommends a book - how do you do it? When I first started blogging I created a spreadsheet, so I could give credit where credit was due, but I sorted it and everything went helter-skelter. I was very discouraged.

I remember adding this one to my TBR list when Framed reviewed it. Your review makes me want to get to it sooner.

SuziQoregon 1/29/2008 7:45 AM  

Susan: it really is a delightful read.

Booklogged: I keep my TBR list in a spreadsheet and I've tried to be good about including where I heard about the book when I add a new one. I don't always remember, but I try.

Anonymous,  2/06/2008 6:15 PM  

Hi - someone sent me a link to your blog because I just read a bio of Wodehouse and have yet to read anything he's written... But I'm in love with 'Plum' and am right now starting to watch DVDs from Netflix 'Wodehouse Playhouse' - anyway, always fun to find another reading blog! I'll be back... (Care from www.bkclubcare.wordpress.com)

SuziQoregon 2/11/2008 7:59 AM  

Care - thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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