6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2010
While some might see the carefree and idle lifestyle of Bertie Wooster as a bygone age it is surprising how familiar Wodehouse manages to put it over even almost ninety years on. The book seems a connected collection of short stories focussing on Bertie's troubles with his Aunt Agatha and an old school friend who is constantly falling in love.
Wodehouse's writing is easy to read and he manages to present Wooster in such a way that the reader can believe the character is something of an imbecile while the genius of the author still shines through.
The language is simple and avoids the trappings of modern comedy whole remaining amusing, though a little predictable in one or two places. There is no real over-arching plot and most tales are only a chapter or two long. In some places, the way that things from earlier episodes are re-capped makes it feel like each should be presented as a separate story as part of a series, whereas in others things that you would expect a reminder of are left unremarked upon.
Overall, it was an enjoyable quick read and escape, but I suspect reading too many of the Jeeves books in quick succession might soon get a little repetitive.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
One of the earlier Jeeves and Wooster collections, this is a series of very loosely linked short stories generally following the same template: young, wealthy airhead Wooster or his pal Bingo Little gets in some sticky situation, and it is up to his genius butler Jeeves to devise an ingenious solution to the quandary. Here, the somewhat repetitious misguided amorous ramblings of Bingo make for the lion's share of troubles, although the high spirits of Bertie's cousins Claude and Eustace also make plenty of work for Jeeves. The stories can fairly be compared to contemporary TV sitcoms, as they to reply on recurring (often over the top) characters, a rarefied setting, a single type of humor, and recurring situations. Simply put, if you like one Wooster story (and don't get sick of them), you're going to like them all. Much of this can be explained by Wodehouse's mastery of the language and constant deft turns of phrase, period slang, and comic timing. Those who deride the shallow subject matter and milieu of the Jeeves and Wooster series need to recall the context in which these stories appeared. Only a few years removed from the horrors of World War I-an event barely alluded to in the series, despite the loss of an entire generation of British young men-the stories can be viewed as a bandage of sorts, an attempt to transport the reader to a world far removed from the traumatic recovery from the Great War. Not to mention Wodehouse's clear depiction of the upper classes as wastrels and idiots of the highest order when compared to the street savvy of the servants (as exemplified by Jeeves). Of course, one doesn't read Wodehouse for social commentary or as a salve these days, but for his dry wit and keen command of the written word.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2012
Don't buy this edition (Amazon ref 1469971836, ISBN 9781469971834). It looks like a download from a royalty-free database, not even typeset, no Forward, nothing. It's not even clear who published it. Printed in the USA, and a complete rip-off.
I purchased this to give as a Christmas present, but I can't give something as shoddy as this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2014
It was a great shock to see anything by Wodehouse awarded one star, and an even greater relief to find this applied to book production and not content. As for the latter, no praise is high enough. There is a connection between the tales, but they can be read separately - which means it's easy to dip into the tome. That is, if you can resist the temptation to finish it at the gallop.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Although "The Inimitable Jeeves" is not the first appearance of the famous double act, Jeeves and Wooster, it is the first book to be 'completely' dedicated to them. It was first published in 1923, and was originally known in America as, simply, "Jeeves".
The book is set in the 1920s England and features Wodehouse's best known creations : Bertie Wooster and his valet, Jeeves. Bertie is the book's wealthy, good-natured and rather dim narrator. He's a member of the "idle rich" and, rather than having to work for a living, lives off an allowance provided by his uncle. He spends much of his time in the bar-room of the Drones Club, is fond of the occasional wager and has an appalling dress sense. Luckily, Bertie has Jeeves to look after him. Without Jeeves, Bertie's life would be a mess : he makes an excellent hangover cure, his bets usually win and he's intelligent enough to rescue Bertie from nearly any situation. He disapproves of Bertie's more garish items of clothing, and will - occasionally - take it upon himself to deal with the offending item.
All of the short stories are connected and most of them involve Bertie's friend Bingo Little, who is always falling in love - occasionally while still 'officially' in love with another. It's Bingo who most consistently drops Bertie into trouble : Bingo's schemes generally aim for an increase in his allowance from his Uncle, with the intention of marrying his latest girlfriend. Generally, Bingo's intended is a girl his uncle wouldn't approve of - so he ropes Bertie and Jeeves into helping him out. There are also appearances for Bertie's troublesome cousins, Claude and Eustace, a devious bookmaker called Steggles and Bertie's fearsome Aunt Agatha. Bertie is held in very low esteem by Agatha, but she is determined that Bertie should marry - Bertie's opinion, as far as she is concerned, is irrelevant.
A very easy and enjoyable read.
on 1 February 2015
I maintain that Jeeves and Wooster are like a familiar warm and welcoming comfort blanket, the plots might be a bit formulaic and contrived but it is easy reading, like Enid Blyton for adults. You know what you are getting with the typically witless but well intentioned Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's gentleman Jeeves.
This is another fine collection of short stories in the main revolving around the hapless infatuations of chum Bingo Little usually with socially inappropriate young ladies that he either needs assistance wooing, or to break off an engagement before catastrophe and disinheritance can occur. Also putting in appearances are the fearful Aunt Agatha who can turn brave men to quivering jelly, and high spirited young cousins Claude and Eustace, all bringing disruption to Bertie's desire for the quiet bachelor life. Others include a pair of confidence tricksters on the French Riviera and the corrupt bookkeeping Steggles, the revolutionary Comrade Butt and the loony doctor Sir Roderick Glossop and his imperious daughter built like a shed, Honoria Glossop.
As usual Jeeves sees his job as ensuring Wooster is presented as an upright gentleman of society, and so takes a dim view of his employer's less conservative adventures in sartorial elegance. Many of the stories start out with a sense of coolness between the two because Jeeves has taken a professional dislike to a pair of fashionable shoes or colourful socks. By the end of the story his Machiavellian scheming has usually saved the day.
If like me you have enjoyed the marvellous television series with British treasures Fry and Laurie then you will recognise these stories as they formed sub plots in longer episodes. The humour is mild but nevertheless very clever and enjoyable, such as in the exchange where Jeeves confesses a young child had been verbally abusive to him, using wonderful language, but was intentionally elusive about the exact detail, clearly choosing not to repeat the insult:
"The boy is of an outspoken disposition, and had made an opprobrious remark respecting my personal appearance."
"What did he say about your appearance?"
"I have forgotten, sir. But it was opprobrious."
There are 14 Jeeves books, and I am given to understand that they are all fairly similar. Having said that, its not necessaily a bad thing, especially when you consider the various Jeeves stories were published over a span in excess of 50 years. Certainly the two books I have read are quite similar, but then again, I still like vanilla ice-cream after all these years too.
Firstly, this is a "novel" only in the loosest sense - it is more a collection of linked short stories, in chronological order, where earlier events may be referenced but are usually not actually critical to the tale being told. The stories are the "adventures", I suppose of a Mr Bertram Wooster, a gentleman of the 1920's with a large private income, Eton and Oxford, and his valet, Jeeves. Mr Wooster's troubles usually revolve around a family member, a young woman to whom he or one of his friends becomes betrothed, or both. Jeeves provides the solution to whatever problem is at hand, regularly astonishing his "intellectually negligible" employer with his aptitude.
These stories are great fun, for all that they are gentle and inoffensive. If you wished, I am sure you could deconstruct this on any number of levels: but why not just read it for enjoyment instead? This is almost the definition of a "simple pleasure", with beautiful language and wonderful dialogue. Its almost a very clever sitcom in book form, and in fact was filmed for TV some time ago now with no less than Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in the roles. I have not seen that series - and am glad of it, since it would jar a first reading of the books - but it is nice to know that that is out there somewhere too.
on 12 October 2007
Almost the first Jeeves and Wooster novel. Like `The Indiscretions of Archie' before it rather than be a novel the book is basically a series of short stories with a constant theme, that's not intended as a criticism as Wodehouse is the master of the short form and the stories are all fantastic. Although the book is less satisfying than the subsequent Jeeves novels, the thread running through the episodes make it better than a simple collection of stories.
This book introduces us to Bingo Little whom is constantly falling in love and requiring Jeeves to `scare up a happy ending'. Jeeves is not entirely altruistic and is sometimes known to further his own interests, making the `happy endings' not entirely predictable and adding to the almost perfect comedy Wodehouse was peddling at this stage in his career. Also new additions to the Wodehouse cast of characters are Honoria Glossop whom is one of many of Bingo's true loves much to the relief of Bertie Wooster whom is under his detested Aunt's instruction to woo himself.
Due to the famous Wodehouse misunderstandings and the `old noblesse obliqe', Bertie becomes engaged to Honoria who see's him very much as clay regarding moulding. Caddying for Honoria in a shopping expedition is one thing but when Honoria calls for Jeeves to be dismissed drastic measures are required.
Aid comes in the form of Honoria's father Nerve Specialist Sir Roderick Glossop, the world famous `Brain Doctor'. Can Jeeves convince Sir Roderick that Bertie's sanity is less than assured before tragedy strikes?
If you don't laugh out loud then you'll hear a couple of ribs part from their moorings under the strain. I think it prudent to illustrate the crisp language by giving the last word to Mr Wooster describing the lateness of the hour that he arrived at Twing Hall `It was only by getting into my evening things in record time and taking the stairs to the dinner-room in a couple of bounds that I managed to dead-heat with the soup.'
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2012
Although I have read this before it's forever fresh and funny. Wodehouse never gets stale or boring and is suitable for all ages.
This is a wonderful book made accessible to the listener as an audio book with the combined talents of, among others, Michael Hordern and Richard Briers, as Jeeves and Bertie respectively. Other actors join in to recreate the world of Bertie Wooster in a series of wonderful short stories - Bertie's friend Bingo Little falls in and out of love as rapidly as the change of the weather, Bertie's frightening Aunt Agatha schemes for Bertie to wed a suitable young woman - any suitable young woman!
As always, P G Wodehouse's writing never fails to raise a chuckle, and Michael Hordern as Jeeves and Richard Briers as Bertie Wooster are in totally top form. It's wonderful to hear these stories, which I have read so often since being introduced to the works of PGW by my father many years ago, presented so wonderfully. A cd set to treasure and to listen to again and again. If you are a fan of PG Wodehouse, you will need no further introduction - if you have not read or heard any of his works, you are missing out on a treat!