“Life with Jeeves” omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse

My friend Queenie was the one whose fierce love of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster–both “>the television series and the stories–finally made me take notice. For that, and many other things, I’m very grateful. I started with the series, which stars Hugh Laurie as vapid, funny Bertie Wooster, a role that might surprise people who only know him from House, but is a perfect fit for those of us who saw him in Blackadder. Stephen Fry is pitch perfect–droll and dry–as Jeeves.

This is one of those lovely instances in which the television and book versions are both wonderful, each in a way unique to its medium. When I finally cracked open Life with Jeeves, a good place to start, I discovered perfect gems that were funny, sweet, cheering and charming.

The first of the telegrams arrived shortly after noon, and Jeeves brought it in with the before-luncheon snifter. It was from my Aunt Dahlia, operating from Market Snodsbury, a small town of sorts a mile or two along the main road as you leave her country seat.

It ran as follows:

Come at once. Travers

And when I say it puzzled me like the dickens, I am understating it, if anything. As mysterious a communication, I considered, as was ever flashed over the wires. I studied it in a profound reverie for the best part of two dry Martinis and a dividend. I read it backwards. I read it forwards. As a matter of fact, I have a sort of recollection of even smelling it. But it still baffled me. (386)

The Jeeves and Wooster stories were a perfect balance to some of the darker books I was reading. The short stories especially were easy and quick to consume, though rather like Chinese food: a little while later I can’t remember the specifics, and only know I’m hungry again.

I got tripped up by reading the first two segments in this omnibus, the story collections The Inimitable Jeeves and Very Good, Jeeves. After my recent reading of The Road, and before I embarked on any number of other books clamoring for my attention, I thought I’d indulge in a Jeeves story. Alas, the last segment of the book is the novel, Right Ho, Jeeves, and I didn’t realize it till I was a few chapters in. Knowing what a hard time I have remembering certain specifics from the stories, I knew I shouldn’t abandon it midway. Fortunately, it was a delight and a breeze to finish this particular novel, in which Bertie thinks Jeeves has lost his skill at schemes, and instead tries to help out his Aunt Dahlia and his friends Gussie Fink-Nottle and Tuppy Glossop. Hilarious disaster ensues.

Funny, and especially terrific if you’re in want of something to lift the spirits.

2 Responses to ““Life with Jeeves” omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse”

  1. kate Says:

    Thank you–I have been very much in need of lighter reading and something to raise the spirits. I had forgot about Jeeves and Wooster, somehow.

  2. Steph Says:

    I discovered J&W last year and love them dearly… I haven’t watched the show yet, but I know Hugh Laurie will be perfect as Bertie just as he was in Blackadder (I love him as The Prince Regent). I’ve only read two of the novels thus far, but they were both delightful. I have learned that I need to space out their antics, however, otherwise they do all blur together and start to feel rather “samey”. So glad you enjoyed this!