6.12.2013

Currently Reading: Right Ho, Jeeves

Right Ho, JeevesI mean to say, one does not court praise. The adulation of the multitude means very little to one. But all the same, when one has taken the trouble to whack out a highly juicy scheme to benefit an in-the-soup friend in his hour of travail, it’s pretty foul to find him giving the credit to one’s personal attendant, particularly if that personal attendant is a man who goes about the place not packing mess-jackets.

But after I had been splashing about in the porcelain for a bit, composure began to return. I have always found that in moments of heart-bowed-downness there is nothing that calms the bruised spirit like a good go at the soap and water. I don’t say I actually sang in the tub, but there were times when it was a mere spin of the coin whether I would do so or not.

The spiritual anguish induced by that tactless speech had become noticeably lessened.

The discovery of a toy duck in the soap dish, presumably the property of some former juvenile visitor, contributed not a little to this new and happier frame of mind. What with one thing and another, I hadn’t played with toy ducks in my bath for years, and I found the novel experience most invigorating. For the benefit of those interested, I may mention that if you shove the thing under the surface with the sponge and then let it go, it shoots out of the water in a manner calculated to divert the most careworn. Ten minutes of this and I was enabled to return to the bedchamber much more the old merry Bertram.

Author: P.G. Wodehouse

Synopsis: Bertie Wooster has plans to help a sensitive friend into a successful wooing, while also trying to patch up his cousin’s engagement and soften a potential misunderstanding between his favorite aunt and uncle. To his chagrin, however, everyone seems to want his servant Jeeves’ advice instead—the more so as his helpful suggestions begin to go extraordinarily wrong.

Notes: I read this book for two reasons: one, I knew from acquaintance with Psmith that Wodehouse is a funny man, and I was in the mood for some lighthearted reading, and 2) I did not know who Jeeves and Wooster were, but everyone else seemed to, and I was tired of my ignorance.

Not since Spindle’s End have I laughed out loud so heartily and so often at a novel. I loved Wooster’s cheerful narrative; it was childlike to the point of innocence, it was full of fun, it was hilarious. I loved the clarity of the other characters’ motivations, frustrations, and feelings, despite being seen through such a confused filter. And the classically comic setups, full of human foibles and absolutely devoid of shock value, were great fun.

There’s not much more I can say. Bertie Wooster speaks for himself, and I think it’s worth letting him.

This is a great read, especially for reinforcing a cheerful mood. It would go well with sunshine and a cold drink of the reader’s choice. Possibly whiskey and orange juice, which appear together in the story—although for myself, I prefer my orange juice with champagne.

5 comments:

  1. Wodehouse is fantastic, for all the reasons you say. Lighthearted & hilarious. Most of his writing is delicious with Jeeves & Wooster the most delightful of all.

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  2. I love Bertie's narration. When you're up for a good laugh, the library has a 1980s mini-series version that is so delightful.

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  3. I definitely want to read some more Jeeves & Wooster. And thanks for letting me know about the mini-series, Jessi--sounds like fun!

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  4. The Jeeves & Wooster series has been lurking on my to-read list literally for decades now. My sister loves them. I don't know why I've never gotten around to reading them. I love the excerpt! Thank you for sharing; you've given me incentive to bump the books higher up my interminable TBR list.

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    1. You're welcome, and I hope you like the books! :)

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