Friday, June 28, 2013

No--Thank You

Thank You, Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

Published by Overlook Hardcover

4 Out of 5 Stars

For the past couple of years, the name P. G. Wodehouse kept popping up in interviews and articles about some of my favorite people (most notably Hugh Laurie and Neil Gaiman, among others). They praised him as THE master of British comedy. Since I admittedly like my comedy British, I decided it was time to give Wodehouse a try.

The thing with Wodehouse is that he creeps up on you. During the first few chapters, I thought, "What's all the fuss about?" There is some admittedly clever language and the strange turn of phrase, but nothing laugh out loud hilarious. In true Wooster fashion, I thought, "Everyone who loves this man must have gone potty. They're seriously off their onion. What a rummy bit of business this is." And then it happened--a smile here, a titter there, a giggle, and then laugh out loud hilarity. Particularly hilarious are Wooster's attempts to go to sleep while being constantly awakened by the far too diligent local lawmen, Jeeves' plan to smuggle Wooster off the yacht where he's being held captive (which results in Wooster spending a good portion of the book in black face), the quest for slabs of butter, and the maniacal replacement for Jeeves (who quit Wooster's employ because of his disdain for the banjolele).

Many of the jokes aren't subtle in that you know exactly how one event leads to the creation of a particularly vexing problem for our man Wooster. However, that doesn't rob the book of its fun as the anticipation of the event lends itself to a certain joyful giddiness when the events do indeed come to pass.

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