Builds up to be Rather Fun,
This review is from: Thank You, Jeeves: (Jeeves & Wooster) (Paperback)
This is the first Jeeves full length novel, first published 1934, and this is the first Jeeves novel, indeed Wodehouse, that I've read. I was looking forward to some light amusement and this is exactly what I got once the novel built up a head of steam. In other words I wasn't convince to start with and but it did win me over.
If you want to start at the beginning I've seen it recommend that you start with reading the short stories collection The World of Jeeves then the novels in publication order. So this would be your second book. Wodehouse wrote a lot of Jeeves short stories before the novels.
If you're not familiar with Jeeves formula they are set around the 1920's and are told from the point of view of Bertram (Bertie) Wooster, a man of leisure, and his valet Jeeves. Bertie is a magnet for getting into socially precarious positions and Jeeves is adept at getting him out them.
This particular story see him leaving London for the country as no one can stand his banjolele (small banjo), playing, including Jeeves. Out in the countryside he manages to get into all sorts of trouble. Many apparently inconsequential things mention early on return and the novel appears well planned by Wodehouse. The events are increasing farcical but just about plausible, giving the story greater strength. I did get into the story and there were a few laugh out moment but also many wry smiles. Humour wise its not a million miles from the great James Herriot in tone.
If you've seen the Fry and Laurie version of Jeeves from ITV I'd say Fry got Jeeve's spot on with his knowing slightly condescending way, and indeed I did read Jeeves lines in Fry voice. Laurie I'd say played Wooster far too dippily and would have been far too annoying as the narrative character in the book. Bertie is a bit daft but he's not that bad and fortunately I didn't read him as Laurie played him.
I was shocked to see the N word is used several times in this novel in relation to musical minstrels and a significant part of the story relating to these for some comedic value, basically `blacking up' to escape a situation. I've not read elsewhere that Wodehouse has specifically been cited as racist and the way it is written in this novel there doesn't appear any specific racial put downs beyond the uncomfortable use of the word, the concept of Minstrels and one characters reaction. I'd have thought Shakespeare has more to answer for but would be interested in others views.
Overall I'd say if you want a read a bit of fun this will provide it, bar the issue above, you need a little patience but it does unravelled rather well (I've ended up writing a bit like Bertie).
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 May 2012 16:24:14 BDT
I have to say that I disagree with you regarding the relative merits of the acting of Messrs Fry and Laurie. For starters, the part of Jeeves requires very little acting ability beyond the ability to declaim in a deadpan manner and raise the odd eyebrow quizzically. Laurie, OTOH, got Wooster just right. He is a bungler who is totally reliant on his gentleman's gentleman to get him out of scrapes.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jul 2012 02:16:37 BDT
Hagrid's Umbrella says:
Fair point on Laurie having the tougher role but I personally didn't read him as he played him. To be fair I've not seen much of the series and it was a very long time ago. When I've read the books I may revisit the TV series but obviously that might be some time.
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