16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Oh, what ho!,
This review is from: Right Ho, Jeeves (Paperback)
If there's one thing Bertie Wooster should never do, it's make elaborate plans to bring estranged lovebirds back together.
And he demonstrates just why in the second full-length Jeeves novel, a screwball disaster saga that sees Bertie confidently trying to fix people's lives. Of course, things go horribly wrong, and Wodehouse's arch, nutty look at what happens next is an absolute gem.
When Aunt Dahlia summons him to Brinkley Court for a prizegiving, Bertie sends his newt-fancying friend Gussie instead -- especially since Gussie is enamoured of a girl staying there, the soppy Madeleine Bassett. But when Bertie hears that his cousin Angela has broken off her engagement to Tuppy Glossop -- and his aunt is in need of money -- he rushes down to assist all his relatives and pals by advising them to feign such sorrow that they're unable to eat.
Unfortunately his plan falls through, and they manages to enrage the cook Anatole to the point where he storms out. Even worse, the prize-giving is a disaster and the wrong people end up engaged -- and pursued by homicidally angry exes. Only Jeeves' formidable brain can somehow save the day -- and Bertie's behind.
P.G. Wodehouse made a pretty good living off of spoofing the upper crust of England, and the subtlely intlligent servants who bail them out. "Right Ho Jeeves" is a prime example of his writing -- some small mistakes rapidly balloon out into a crazy tangled mess, which only an intelligent manservant can rescue Bertie from.
Much of the book's charm comes from its complex plot and series of disasters (such as Tuppy's homicidal rampage). And as usual, poor Bertie finds himself the object of young ladies' affections -- in this case, the appallingly goofy Madeleine thinks he's madly in love with her, when she's not rambling about fairies and bunnies. If there's a flaw, it's that Jeeves' final solution is a bit limp.
But Wodehouse's writing is what really makes the book timeless. It's arch and wry, whether he's describing basic actions ("He leaped like a lamb in springtime"), or goofy dialogue ("But if you were a male newt, Madeline Bassett wouldn't look at you. Not with the eye of love, I mean").
Jeeves and Bertie are the perfect comic team -- Bertie is proud, goofy, and not terribly bright, while the quiet Jeeves is a towering intellect with wry wit. And they're backed by a colourful, small cast of nutty aristocrats, schoolboys, sharp-tongued aunts and cousins, newt-fancying fish-faced men, and a girl who talks about how "every time a fairy sheds a tear, a wee bitty star is born." Yech.
"Right Ho Jeeves" is a hilarious, tangled farce of love, money, jealousy, dinner jackets and the mating rituals of newts. Absolutely priceless, from start to finish.