Carry On, Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

Carry On, Jeeves CoverCarry On, Jeeves was my first foray into the comedy of P. G. Wodehouse, and, I must say, I had no idea it could be this wonderful. The book is made up of a series of vignettes in which Bertram Wooster and his butler, Jeeves, work to help Bertie’s friends get out of all number of pickles, often making situations much worse before they get better. The problems seem reasonable enough: helping introduce a friend’s fiancée to his wretched uncle in a favourable light; helping a friend who hates the city convince an aunt that he lives in New York and basks in the night-life, lest he get cut off from his allowance; or, in probably one of my favourite of the stories, watching over his aunt’s friend’s son, while protecting him from the temptations of the big city. However, Bertie often gets far entangled in the solutions––usually, solutions proposed by Jeeves––and way in over his head. The situations themselves make for great comedy, but the superb writing of Wodehouse really puts it over the top. This frequently comes from Bertie’s great descriptions; for example, “Professor Pringle was a thinnish, baldish, dypeptic-lookingish cove with an eye like a haddock, while Mrs Pringle’s aspect was that of one who had had bad news round about the year 1900 and never really got over it.” Bertie’s word choice he throws in every chance he gets also shows the sarcastic little bitch he really is: When he had to get out of New York, he was quickly driven back to the city due to the “incessant shouting of the crickets” of Long Island; at lunch with the aforementioned Pringles, they finished “mangling the cutlets;” Bertie’s melancholic friend, Freddie, at one point sat there “smiting the piano.” It really is great.

If you have yet to experience the hilarious Wodehouse, I would highly recommend it. I, for one, will most definitely pick up another of his books the first chance I get.