I read My Man Jeeves a few weeks ago on a plane ride. This book was just perfect for a plane ride. In addition to being hilariously witty and delightful, it’s a collection of short stories. Since each one wraps up with a nice little bow at the end, they’re extremely satisfying, and they never get boring.
For those unfortunate souls who aren’t yet familiar, the Jeeves and Wooster stories take place in the early 20th century and revolve around Bertie Wooster, an independently wealthy young Englishman, and his valet, Jeeves. Bertie and his friends get into a number of scrapes from which Jeeves’ elaborate, ingenious plans must save them. These scrapes frequently revolve around unwelcome engagements or threats from wealthy aunts and uncles to cut off allowances.
My Man Jeeves must be an early collection, because right in the middle there were a couple stories featuring Reggie Pepper. I believe he’s the precursor to Bertie, and Jeeves was absent from those stories. Much as I love both Bertie and Jeeves, I enjoyed the Reggie Pepper stories quite a bit. It is true that the Jeeves stories can be a bit formulaic, and so having stories about Reggie, who is equally as daft as Bertie, try to figure his way out with a Jeeves ex machina, was pretty entertaining.
I remembered some of these stories from the old series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie but others were new to me. They were all equally engrossing. I’m glad I’ve seen that series, because picturing Fry and Laurie acting out what I was reading added to my enjoyment immensely. Whoever cast those two knew what they were doing–who else could possibly play these roles? I can’t imagine. Anyway, if you already know and enjoy Jeeves and Wooster this is a quality collection, and if you’ve never read them, this is a fine introduction.
CBR10 Bingo: Birthday (PG Wodehouse was born on 10/15/1881).