Joel Simon's Reviews > Life With Jeeves

Life With Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
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's review
Jul 11, 11

bookshelves: fiction, humor
Read from September 03, 2010 to July 10, 2011

I urge everyone who has even the slightest interest in British humor to read "Life With Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse. It is reeally three books in one and you won't be disappointed with any of it. Much of the Jeeves series is essentially a series of sketches about the mishaps of Bertie Wooster, an upper class young gentlemen who lives off the wealth of his rich aunts. Jeeves is Bertie's valet. Bertie tries to help his friends and relatives whenever they are in a jam, but something always goes wrong and it takes Jeeves to save the day. I was introduced to these stories by the British television series, Jeeves & Wooster when it aired on public television in NYC in the early 1990s. For those of you not familiar with the fabulous comedic actors in that show, it starred Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie (who is now wildly famous from the TV show, "House") as Bertie Wooster. Fry and Laurie also acted together in the well-known British TV comedy series "Blackadder". Steven Fry (and to alesser extent Hugh Laurie) has a long list of roles to his name.

Anyway, back to the book. As good as the TV show was, the written versions of these stories are even better. P.G. Wodehouse is known for his great wit, and reading any one of the sketches immediately shows you why. They are well paced, well written and very funny. And you really feel like you know all the characters. In addition to Jeeves and Bertie, there are Bertie's two aunts, Aunt Agatha (the older, and less forgiving, aunt) and Aunt Dahlia (the more tolerant, but no less acerbic, aunt), Bertie's wacky friends Bingo Little, Tuppy Glossop and Gussie Fink-Nottle, and women whom Bertie is (or is not) fond of - Madeleine Bassett, Honoria Glossop and Bertie's cousin Angela. They are all remarkable supporting characters, each with their own quirks and nuances.

I particularly liked the way Jeeves expresses displeasure with certain clothing preferences of Bertie's and how he always manages to get Bertie to give them up. And I also enjoyed the way Jeeves can say just a word or two, such "Indeed sir" or simply, "Sir?" and Wodehouse can build a whole dialogue betwwen Jeeves and Bertie about those words and the way Jeeves says them.

Each chapter in the first sections ("The Inimitable Jeeves" and "Very Good Jeeves!") are individual sketches that stand on their own, but occasionally intertwne with or recall other sketches. The third section ("Right Ho Jeeves") however, is more like a book with a plot, involving three major story lines all of which take place in the same location involving most of the characters mentioned above.

An absolute delight, "Life With Jeeves is a book to dip into or to read in long stretches. Either way, it will have you laughing all the way and appreciating how good written humor can be -- and all without sex, foul language or violence.

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Reading Progress

11/02/2010 page 195
07/10/2011 page 528
95.0% "This book just gets better and better the deeper into it I get!"
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