Oh, how I love this man. It’s tempting, when reading the work of a master, to want to match your review to the talent reviewed. I’m not even going to try. My humour writing attempts are basically collections of of swear words and complaining loudly. Wodehouse makes art out of every whimsical sentence. He is proof that whoever said “all good comedy comes from pain” was talking total rubbish. I’m pretty much hoping that if I read enough Wodehouse in a row, some of it will rub off on me and I’ll send everyone I walk past into fits of laughter after simply commenting on the time. I can’t express in words how much I adore a good Wodehouse.
In fact, I have enjoyed the hell out of every single P.G. Wodehouse book I have read so far, but I couldn’t for the life of me differentiate between the plot of one and the plot of another, except to say “This one has Jeeves in it!” and “This one was one of the other ones!”
No one reads Wodehouse for the story. They read him for the language.
This creates a bit of a problem for reviewers, as you can’t very well write the same review for twelve different books, can you?
Well, I can’t really justify including another P.G. in my year’s CBR (and there are several lined up) if I’m just going to copy and paste the above paragraphs, so I’ll try to write something specific to Much Obliged, Jeeves.
This one’s about Bertie Wooster’s visit to his more tolerant aunt in Market Snodsbury, where he goes in order to help out an old friend run for political office. While there, he runs into not one but two of his many ex-fiances and struggles mightily to maintain the ex- status. Meanwhile, in Jeeves’ world, the Book of Revelations (the book of the Junior Ganymede gentlemen’s gentlemen memorializing the habits and activities of those gentlemen’s gentlemen’s gentlemen), formerly thought to be safely under lock and key, has been stolen. Naturally, and as usual, Jeeves’ brain is expected to save the day, but not before some good, old fashioned, what-I-imagine-to-be-the-pre-TV-version-of-sitcominess ensues.
Did any of that make sense to you? Doesn’t matter. Not the point.
I picked up this book a couple weeks ago in Chapters, because I thought I had a gift certificate with me, and when it turned out I’d left it at home, it wasn’t like I was going to just not by the book or something. I had a pile of similarly bound Wodehouses in hand, and while I couldn’t justify buying all five of them, I figured one for the bus ride back was perfectly reasonable. But how to choose?
I read the first couple of sentences from each pile-member, but when I got to the following passage:
‘These eggs, Jeeves,’ I said. ‘Very good. Very tasty.’
‘Laid, no doubt, by contented hens.’
I knew there was but one book for me.
And, I’m happy to say, it was a damn good choice.
As I mentioned above, I haven’t come across a bad Wodehouse yet, but this one was exceptional. I smiled at every page, I laughed embarrassingly in public places; at several points I may or may not have actually hugged the book. If you want a dose of Bertie and Jeeves, you could definitely do worse than this one.
Cannonball Read III: 3/52