Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: My Man Jeeves by P.G. Woodhouse

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

My Man Jeeves by P.G. Woodhouse

In this 1919 collection of 8 short stories (many which appeared earlier in the US in the Saturday Evening Post and in the UK in the Strand ) only half actually feature Jeeves…the first three and the last but it really doesn’t matter-the rest feature Reggie Pepper and the entire collection is humorous.

In the first three stories, Bertie Wooster and his man Jeeves are in New York City for their adventures with Bertie’s friends. Here’s how Bertie describes his invaluable valet:

Jeeves--my man, you know--is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn't know what to do without him. On broader lines he's like those chappies who sit peering sadly over the marble battlements at the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked "Inquiries." You know the Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: "When's the next train for Melonsquashville, Tennessee?" and they reply, without stopping to think, "Two-forty-three, track ten, change at San Francisco." And they're right every time. Well, Jeeves gives you just the same impression of omniscience.’

“Leave it to Jeeves”…how famous is that line and how I wish I had a Jeeves to leave it all too. You know a clever chappy who could not only tell me what clothes look good on me and how to wear my hair most becomingly but who could solve the little problems of my friends as well…well, solve their problems in the same way that House almost kills his patients before curing them!

Have you ever spent any time at the shore? Here’s a peak at what Reggie Pepper has to say about it from “Helping Freddie”

‘Do you know Marvis Bay? It's in Dorsetshire. It isn't what you'd call a fiercely exciting spot, but it has its good points. You spend the day there bathing and sitting on the sands, and in the evening you stroll out on the shore with the gnats. At nine o'clock you rub ointment on the wounds and go to bed.

It seemed to suit poor old Freddie. Once the moon was up and the breeze sighing in the trees, you couldn't drag him from that beach with a rope. He became quite a popular pet with the gnats. They'd hang round waiting for him to come out, and would give perfectly good strollers the miss-in-baulk just so as to be in good condition for him.’

For a fun, humorous look at life on the rich side on both sides of the Pond, you can’t do any better than this wonderfully written, genteel collection. Perfectly read by Mark Nelson, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here. (Its thanks to a reader’s comment that I thought to look for P.G. Woodhouse at Librivox!)

Here's Hugh Laurie as Bertie and Steven Frye as Jeeves


Elaine/Muddling Through said...

I LOVE the Jeeves stores and have read/listened to as many as I could find at our local library. Thanks for the Hugh Laurie clip. He's much more pleasant as Bertie, isn't he!

Ulla said...

I have seen the Jeeves series on TV at least two times and always enjoyed them. Both actors are perfect for their roles.

Allie said...

I adore Wodehouse - any of them, doesn't even have to be Jeeves and Wooster! I love the video series as well, our library is getting them in slowly. Hysterical. I hate Laurie as House but he's the perfect Wooster!