Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse

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Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Predictable plots and two dimensional characters don't matter - this is the sublimely funny P G Wodehouse.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0099513735

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Bertie Wooster was once engaged to Pauline Stoker. It didn't last very long – about forty eight hours, most of which Bertie spent in bed with a bad cold, if his memory serves him correctly. It's still embarrassing when he meets Pauline and her father, particularly as it was the father who was responsible for breaking off the engagement. Rather than eat at the Savoy Grill where he spotted the Stokers, he goes home to his only consolation. Bertie plays the banjo. Unfortunately, he doesn't play it very well.

The neighbours don't like the banjo. Representations are made to Bertie but it's to no avail and he declares that he will retire to the country to play in peace. But there's worse to come. Jeeves doesn't like the banjo either and rather than accompany Bertie to the country he decides to leave his employment.

You don't read Wodehouse for the plot. It's heavily dependant on coincidence and slap-stick comedy. You know that the very people Wooster wishes to avoid in London will turn up next door to him in the country. You know that the girl he mustn't be seen with will turn up in his bed in the middle of the night. It doesn't matter though. You know it will all turn out in the end. The point of reading Wodehouse is not to find out how it ends but to enjoy the finding out.

It's not the characters you read him for either. You'd probably hate Wooster in real life, the moneyed upper class twit described by Jeeves as mentally negligible but on paper you can't help, well, warming to him. The girls are all dippy, the older women all tartars. Wisdom rests only with Jeeves. They're two-dimensional but any more would over-egg the pudding.

You read him because he's sublimely funny. He has a way with words – simple phrases which leave you gasping in admiration. It's over forty years since I last read Wodehouse and I'll confess that he didn't impress me then. I wanted it all, you see. The plots disappointed me – I wanted something more complex. The characters annoyed me – I was no more a fan of the idle rich then than I am now. In the sixties the book, first published in 1934, seemed dated. Now it's a gem, a period piece. Perhaps it's a sign of age, but I'm happy to enjoy the skill which has gone into crafting this book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. It gave me a very unexpected evening's enjoyment.

For another book very much of its time we can recommend Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday.

Buy Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse at Amazon.com.


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John Van der Kiste said:

A lovely review! I was brought up on P.G. Wodehouse, and can just remember the original BBC TV series starring Ian Carmichael and Dennis Price. The books were extremely funny when I was in my teens, they've never lost their magic for me - and there are still a few of his (not necessarily the Jeeves and Wooster series) that I haven't yet read. As you say, there's little plot, and they may be very predictable, but thoroughly entertaining and delightfully written.