Monday, 29 September 2014

Thank You Jeeves

If anyone follows me on Goodreads, they'll notice I've been quite lax recently and not posted any reviews of books I've recently read which is unlike me so it's time to play catch up.

I've never read any Jeeves & Wooster books before, or anything by P.G. Wodehouse and I've long thought this is a gap in my reading landscape which needed correcting. So I did my research and discovered that 'Thank You Jeeves' is the first full length Jeeves & Wooster novel published, so opted for that one. There'd been lots of short stories written before, but bypassed them for now as I tend to prefer novels.

For anyone who's not heard of Jeeves & Wooster, they are the main characters in a series of comedy books by P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves is an extremely efficient, intelligent and long suffering butler to Bertie Wooster an upper class English gentleman of average intelligence and below average common sense.

'Thank You Jeeves' starts off with Wooster annoying the hell out of everyone with his latest obsession of playing the banjo. He gets told to leave his apartment as he is regularly disturbing the neighbours, and much worse, his butler Jeeves hands in his notice as he can't stand the banjo playing either. Wooster thinks he'll manage fine without Jeeves, but is soon more in need of him that ever when his former fiance suddenly reappears in his life, and a series of scrapes and mix ups ensue.

I enjoyed my first foray into Jeeves & Wooster. The inevitable disasters which befall Wooster are comical, even a bit farcical, as are some of the ways he manages to get out of them, usually with Jeeves help (even though Jeeves isn't in his employ for much of the book). I got on with it a lot better than I do with most 'comic fiction'. Wodehouse writes really well, never quite falling into the downright silly category, and there is good description and setting, interesting characters and a plot that mostly hangs together okay. My only criticism of it was that perhaps it was a little bit long. Now it isn't a long book by most standards, less than 300 pages, but there were a couple two many plot twists and the joke was starting to wear slightly thin in places. I always find comedic fiction feels a little longer than other books as the plot doesn't carry the reader through in the same way, maybe that's just me.

So the slight length issue aside, I really enjoyed this. I will definitely read more Jeeves & Wooster, possibly by reading some of the short story collections. I can see why Wodehouse wrote so many, as Jeeves & Wooster probably suit this length of story best.