on 22 September 2009
So perhaps this one is a little capricious... but "Thank You, Jeeves" - and Wodehouse - is so spectacular, it deserves to have more than one review. Even if the latter review is obsolete, and poorly written.
"Thank You, Jeeves" was Plum's first foray into novels, and if you're coming into this as a new fan of J and W, chances are up until now you've only read the short stories. Aye, with a novel, you go into it knowing you will have to invest more time and, naw, it's not a book you can dip in and out of. But it's stupendous, tremendous and peachy peachy keen so, chances are, you'll maraud through it in one dizzingly enjoyable sitting.
There are the mishaps, farcical adventures, misconstruisms (to coin a word) and genuine laughs-from-the-tummy. Bertie and Jeeves have become separated due to Wooster's banjolele playing (as a ukulele player, he has my support). Nevertheless, fate and mutual adoration draw them together again and again. They are joined by a motley crew ranging from lovable to lovable grotesque. Perhaps that's one of Wodehouse's strengths - he just didn't know how to write a disappointing character. They all still have the quirks and the dialogue, you see, making even the most unpleasant of chaps seem entirely charming.
So the knife-wielding wingnut Brinkley is still a joy to read about as he very calmly requests the devil come out of that room please, sir. And even pesky young Seabury is a pleasure to spend time with when you consider the teenage gadabouts of today carry guns whereas, at his very worst, he brandishes merely a stick of butter.
In other words, "Thank You, Jeeves" is a sublime pair of the cat's pajamas. A bit of warning for the easily offended: the "n" word does crop up a couple of times, as does the idea of "blacking up". I was startled the very first time I saw them in Wodehouse stories, but never are they used as invective so hopefully you can forgive Wodehouse's using them - they will have been standard back then and he clearly meant no offense.
If you've yet to follow the duo around for a spell, I would urge you to have a go. If you already know them well, read the entire lot and fall in love with them all over again.