Friday, August 2, 2013
Thank You, Jeeves
This book opens with the unthinkable happening - Jeeves gives notice. He can cope with the never-ending disasters in which Bertie Wooster gets himself embroiled but Bertie’s playing of the banjolele is more than he can endure.
Bertie’s neighbours seem inclined to agree with Jeeves and he is forced to move. He takes a cottage in the country, a cottage owned by his pal Chuffy (actually the fifth Baron Chuffnell). To his dismay he once again crosses paths with the dreaded Sir Roderick Glossop, the eminent psychiatrist who is convinced that Bertie needs to be institutionalised for his own protection. There are other hazards to be encountered at Chuffnell Hall. There’s Chuffy’s appalling nephew Seabury for one, and there’s American heiress Pauline Stoker to whom Bertie was once engaged. He considers his avoidance of that marriage to be one of the luckiest escapes of his life.
Pauline and Chuffy are madly in love but the course of true love certainly does not run at all smoothly. Luckily for them, or possibly unluckily for them, Bertie is determined to help matters along. This eventually leads to his kidnapping by Pauline’s terrifying father.
Despite having given notice Jeeves naturally plays a key role in the story. Which is just as well as Bertie’s new man, Brinkley, proves to be a very dangerous and indeed homicidal lunatic. Bertie also finds himself once again in danger of getting married, and also finds himself persecuted by the local constabulary (who seem to share Sir Roderick Glossop’s views on Bertie’s sanity). Jeeves has his work cut out for him this time as Bertie gets into one scrape after another.
It’s all glorious fun. Wodehouse has no difficulty sustaining his blend of delightful humour over a full-length novel, and in fact the novel format allows him to involve Bertie in even more intricate escapades.
There may have been other writers equally as funny as Wodehouse (Evelyn Waugh in his pre-war novels being one) but I don’t think there’s ever been anyone who could better him. Wodehouse is uninterested in doing anything but entertain and he succeeds gloriously. Highly recommended.