Carry On, Jeeves – Review – ***1/2

I chose this book, a collection of 10 short stories, about half of which were re-reads, for my next review because I am getting a bit discouraged about my book total, and Wodehouses are quick and easy to read. If, come November, I’m still hopelessly far behind, I’m going to start reviewing children’s books. But anyway.

I have come to the conclusion that Jeeves is a manipulative bastard who enjoys putting his obliging and feeble-minded master in difficult situations for a laugh. I approve of this practice.

The last short was told from Jeeves’ POV, which, in my experience so far, is pretty rare. Wodehouse stories tend to run together, especially the shorts, but I am pleased to say that I was, with about 90% accuracy, able to tell which ones I had read before. I enjoyed most of the stories, but found this collection particularly repetitive.

In general, I like Wodehouse’s full-length novels better than his short stories. They let him build, they let the mix-ups get more intense and bizarre, and they’re slightly less formulaic and repetitive; the short stories have a tendency to become a bit rote when many are read in a row:

  • Bertie is happy
  • Bertie’s friend is in a jam/Bertie’s aunt or family member is being a nightmare/Bertie is accidentally engaged
  • Bertie is sad
  • Jeeves is tasked with solving the problem
  • I bet THIS time it’s too much for Jeeves!
  • a roundabout solution with a wide margin for error is pulled off without a hitch/with a hitch fully foreseen by Jeeves
  • Bertie is happy
  • Bertie gets rid of item of dress that Jeeves doesn’t like
  • Jeeves is happy
  • repeat

Bertie gets all of the blame and none of the credit, while giving in to friends and endearingly admitting to a distinct lack of brains, which makes me feel worse for him than I think we’re supposed to. Still, even when not actually laughing out loud, Wodehouse still makes me smile – his stories and tone have such a warm feeling, like coming home, and nothing ever goes too badly wrong. In this collection, there is a very strong father/son vibe between Jeeves and Wooster, especially in the earlier stories.

In short, I love Wodehouse, and this collection showcased plenty of his goodness, but it’s by no means my favourite of his efforts.

Also, it appears that Pierce Hawthorne was not he who coined the phrase “streets ahead,” as I saw it used (in the appropriate manner) on page 141, in the story “The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy” (which, incidentally, was my favourite in the collection).

Cannonball Read III: 13/52

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Posted on August 6, 2011, in 100 things in 1000 days, Book Reviews, Books, Cannonball Read 3 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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