Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reading Jeeves

Reading a book about a butler named Jeeves may strike you as a bit dull.
Don't butlers just stand around and open doors?
Well, there's a lot more to it, of course, including -- rich uncles, angry aunts, lovesick pals, crooks, cronies, choir boys, newts, nuts and wildly preposterous schemes cooked up by Jeeves himself.
But, yes, there are doors to be opened and Jeeves has a way of making even this dramatic, funny or both.
Or perhaps I should say the author, P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced Woodhouse) has a way. But that would be an understatement.

Jeeves is not exactly a butler. He's really a "gentleman's gentleman." It's his job to take care of a young English gentleman, Bertie Wooster, and it's fact that Wooster needs so very much taking care of that makes it so much fun. He's as foolish as Jeeves is smart, you see, yet he's the one chosen to narrate the stories.

Thus reading a Jeeves story can be something of a roller-coaster ride with dips, twists, a few loops and trains of Wooster thought that rush by at 90 mph. Like this excerpt from My Man Jeeves

... I rang the bell.

"Sir?" said Jeeves, kind of manifesting himself. One of the rummy things about Jeeves is that, unless you watch like a hawk, you very seldom see him come into a room. He's like one of those weird chappies in India who dissolve themselves into thin air and nip through space in a sort of disembodied way and assemble the parts again just where they want them. I've got a cousin who's what they call a Theosophist, and he says he's often nearly worked the thing himself, but couldn't quite bring it off, probably owing to having fed in his boyhood on the flesh of animals slain in anger and pie.

Now, such a paragraph as that might scare some folks off. Trust me, after a page or two, it will be second nature to you.

Jeeves has another thing to recommend him. He's free. Both as ebooks and as audiobooks.

And if your library doesn't have at least one book of Jeeves, then civilization just isn't what it used to be.

1 comment :

Okie said...

Great recommendation. I absolutely love the Jeeves stories. They are tons of fun! I finally read my first complete novel (right ho jeeves) recently, though I'd read snippets before and seen the TV series.

And thanks for the links to the free versions...I'm going to have to stock up my iPod supply. :)