Aunts Aren'T Gentleman
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Top customer reviews
Would heartily recommend to all Jeeves and Wooster fans.
'Oh thanks,' I responded, for it sounded like a compliment, and one always likes to say the civil thing.
With these words Bertie Wooster finds himself packed off to the country by his doctor - who has diagnosed too much fast living, too many cocktails, cigarettes and generally too much of a good time for young Bertram. As ever, in the world of Wodehouse, the quiet country retreat is nothing of the sort. Instead, Bertie finds himself in the middle of a squabble over a horse race and stuck between a pair of young lovers (one of whom Bertie might be in danger of marrying, the other of jealous and violent disposition), with an affectionate cat hanging around and assailed by a favourite but wilful aunt with a dastardly ploy: all typical Wodehouse ingredients.
Published in 1974 this was not only the last Jeeves and Wooster book it was also Wodehouse's last novel. It is not Wodehouse at, perhaps, his very greatest. Elements of the story appear just a little too familiar perhaps and the wit and verve of the story is lacking compared to Wodehouse at his absolute finest. Very few authors are, however, anything like that good and, like me, I suspect that most readers will have a permanent inward smile as they read this. Wodehouse's prose is still a delight to read.
Fans of Wooster's world will be pleased to know that, despite the later publication date, this is still the one of indomitable aunts, serious young women (with views on improving Bertie), daft and impecunious young men and cocktails before dinner. Barring a reference to Billy Graham - which suggests a post-war setting - this could easily still be the pre-war heyday of Wodehouse.
Even if a falling off for Wodehouse, this is still well worth reading for hours of joyful and innocent fun.
Poor Bertie Wooster has discovered he has an outbreak of pink spots on his chest – consulting the noted specialist E. Jimpson Murgatroyd, he resolves to take a quiet seaside holiday and rents a cottage in Maiden Eggesford. There he knows he will find companionable company, as his aunt (Dahlia, the good one, not Agatha, the one who eats broken bottles) is staying there with some people by the name of Briscoe. But what he doesn’t anticipate is that he will also find in Maiden Eggesford Vanessa Cook who once rejected him, Orlo Porter who loves Vanessa and is not happy to find Bertie knows her, Major Plank who once tried to have Bertie arrested, and a cat who is pivotal to Bertie being able to remain in one piece and get everybody back where they ought to be. Hopefully Jeeves will be able to assist.
This is a great PGW book, and one which is a real classic, I think – full of the witticisms of Bertie and his long-suffering gentleman’s gentleman Jeeves – Bertie never misses an opportunity in telling us of the occasion when he won the Scripture Knowledge prize at his school, and his remarkable propensity to get engaged (whether he wants to or not) defies explanation. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this book – pure classic PGW and one to be treasured and re-read. Just brilliant.
Having said that, I enjoyed this one eventually, but it was slow to get going. Jeeves was absent far too much for my liking but, as ever, he came up trumps in the end getting Bertie out of his customary sticky situation. I'm glad I read it but it wasn't as joyful as some. Plenty of titters, certainly!
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