reviews

Book review: Right Ho, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse

This is my first experience with Wodehouse, Wooster, and Jeeves, despite how I’ve heard recommendations for them all my life. I never resisted the recommendations, as I’ve always been an anglophile and love stories about competent British butlers and those they serve. I just didn’t get around to picking one of the stories up until I realized this audiobook was available at my library.

However, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The story was nothing more than a Comedy of Errors, and the main characters were pretty two-dimensional. I have to say I really prefer Dorothy L. Sayer’s Wimsey and Bunter.

I did laugh often, thanks to Wooster’s charming speech (calling his friend repeatedly a “regular old poop”) or the absurdity of the situation (the acquaintance was headed to a fancy dress ball as Mephistopheles, then forced to run out on the cab driver, was pursued by said driver, who caught and pulled off his coat, then had the fright of his life as he saw what appeared to be the devil underneath).

But comedies of error often make me cringe, and Wooster’s obtuseness seemed to go on far too long. I particularly cringed when he wanted Jeeves to spike his abstinent friend’s drink without his knowledge. At first Jeeves seemed to refuse out of principle, but he later reconsidered and added the alcohol, though at least the friend in question decided to break his own rule of abstinence first.

The book did do a nice job illustrating that telegrams were essentially an early form of texting, though.

Much like I did after I read a lesser tale of humans and dragons bonding, I am fleeing back to Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, thank you. I started listening to The Attenbury Emeralds (although, admittedly, it’s a published fanfic) right after this, and the difference is so great — I really prefer a butler who speaks more than a handful of very short lines (just once did Jeeves share anything personal about himself, when he laughed recalling a family joke).

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