Book Review: Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

Posted on May 30, 2011

In which Heath solves a vexing mystery.

Currently I am on my yearly pilgrimage to the Midwest. It always arises is that I always have trouble figuring out what to read. I can’t read anything too heavy, because I have trouble focusing on airplanes. I can’t read anything too light, because, well, who wants to read a review of a James Patterson book?

So, my choices are limited. Whatever could strike that balance? Well, the other week I was cruising my favorite thrift store, when I found a stack of 25 P. G. Wodehouse books. Problem solved. After consulting a bunch of ‘Top 10 Funniest Wodehouse” lists, I found myself lifting off with ‘Right Ho, Jeeves’.

It’s hard to imagine that a confirmed Anglophile has not been rolicking in the adventures of Bertram Wooster. In this instance, his superior problem solving skills have been put to the test.

Not only is his aunt most likely divorcing her husband, but a friend of his cannot summon the nerve to propose to the perfect woman. Naturally, a Wooster must meddle in the affairs of others.

The breakup of his aunt and uncle was perpetrated by an argument started because he probably eats too much. So, Bertram hatches a scheme against the advice of the eponymous butler, Jeeves. The uncle simply will not eat dinner. On top of that, his love-struck friend (who can’t stop talking about newts) should show his object that he is pining away by also refusing food. Of course, this plan is an abject failure and only serves to make even more problems.

If anything, this book, like many pieces of British comedy, is a lesson in unintended consequences. It’s a great read and is easy to follow.

However, it is much more than that. I have never read more entertaining prose than what I have devoured by Wodehouse. Think about this, when was the last time that the inner monologue of a character caused you to laugh out loud? If you don’t find yourself closing the book and giggling several times, then find me and I will give you your money back.

Speaking of cost, one of the fun things about this is that the better part of Wodehouse’s work is that many of them are public domain. I packed my Nook with about 45 of them before I left. They are also often found in the ‘paperbacks’ section of a thrift store, and you can pick them up for $0.50.

You’d probably just fine reading anything written by ‘Plum’, but take it from me, you will scare your roomates because you will laugh out of nowhere if you pick up ‘Right Ho, Jeeves.’

I didn’t have to consult Bertram to solve my problem. I look forward to associating adventures with satire of the British aristocracy.

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4 Responses to “Book Review: Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse”

  1. shannon gordon on May 30th, 2011 7:16 pm

    Going thru my pile right now – might try the Blandings series but I do love all the Jeeves/Bertie adventures(romance runs amuck) and clever conclusions. And “The Adventures of Sally” is calling.

  2. Ed on June 2nd, 2011 12:51 pm

    Augustus Fignottle, noted newt fancier

  3. Leonard Goldstein on June 9th, 2011 2:42 pm

    I caught the reprint of your fine review in today’s (6/9/11) Alexandria Times, and have sent a link to the Wodehouse group at PGWNet. What’s that thrift store with all the Wodehouses available? I’ve never found more than one or two. BTW, some PGW fans are very touchy about calling Jeeves a butler when he was actually a valet or gentleman’s gentleman (i.e. he tended to an individual, not a household) so be prepared for the possibility of some friendly excoriation, to coin an oxymoron.

    Lenny

  4. Heath on June 9th, 2011 2:48 pm

    Lenny,

    The thrift shop is on Alfred and King and benefits the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington. As of Saturday they had three volumes of it (Blandings, Golf and another one) but I was fortunate to be in the right place and the right time a couple weeks ago and hauled off about 25 of them.

    Thanks for passing it on! I’ll keep in mind the difference between butler and valet. I hope I make it out alive.

    -Heath

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