Published May 1st 2008 by Arrow Books (first published 1925)
Author: P. G. Wodehouse (Official website)
Genre(s): Humor, classics, fiction, short stories
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Now, touching this business of old Jeeves — my man, you know — how do we stand?”
These marvellous stories introduce us to Jeeves, whose first ever duty is to cure Bertie’s raging hangover (‘If you would drink this, sir… it is a little preparation of my own invention. It is the Worcester Sauce that gives it its colour. The raw egg makes it nutritious. The red pepper gives it its bite. Gentlemen have told me they have found it extremely invigorating after a late evening.’)
And from that moment, one of the funniest, sharpest and most touching partnerships in English literature never looks back…
One of the best feelings as a reader is when you discover a new author, and you’re left wondering how you ever went through life without them in your life before.
That’s what has happened to me, on discovering P. G. Wodehouse. Up until I read Carry On, Jeeves the other week, my only interaction with Wodehouse had been the fact that his books would always turn up in Oxfam. There was barely a time when I’d look at the end of the classics section and not see any of his books there.
I didn’t pass them by completely, they had me curious, and I may have read the blurb of one or two and not really absorbed any of it because deep down I knew I would just put it back on the shelf. It was as simple as this: I didn’t know enough about the author, his genre, or the subject of his books well enough to take a chance on them, and I always decided against it.
Thinking back, there was some kind of book fog stopping me from reading them, but the fog has cleared now and I’m in a new era of reading. All it took was to see someone else reading one of his books in real life, and for me to know that they were enjoying it. That’s it. For me, that’s confirmation that I should try a book, or author out. And of course I already knew there would be plenty to choose from.
Naturally, Oxfam doesn’t have a single copy of any P. G. Wodehouse books when I#m actively seeking them out, but I found this one at Beeston library, along with Right Ho, Jeeves which I am currently reading.
I’d known about Jeeves and Wooster as a TV programme, although I’ve never watched it, and I didn’t really know what kind of storyline these two characters would bring. Carry On, Jeeves is a collection of short stories, and although it’s not the first in the ‘Jeeves’ series, it is a good introduction to the world of these two characters.
A few stories in, I got the idea: Bertie Wooster often finds himself tangled up in the odd social affairs of his friends, acquaintances and relatives, and he turns to Jeeves to come up with a plan to get the friend (or whoever it may be) out of their particular pickle. It’s so simple, but makes for great comedy! It’s the perfect kind of story to read for escapism.
Everyone in this world of Wooster seems to be well-off, or having their money threatened, and Bertie lives a life of leisure. He’s involved in ‘clubs’ which seems to be the source of his fortune, but overall he is a character who can afford the pleasures of life. If he wants to sit drinking tea and doing nothing all day, then he can. Plenty of his friends have an allowance from their aunts, who play a big role in the stories, as if simply being an aunt means you are immediately rich enough to support your nephew.
I don’t laugh, or cry, or gasp, or feel anything very intensely when I’m reading a book. When I do any of these things, it’s always a mark of a good book. And this one has made me laugh several times. There are some really memorable moments which I have tried to explain to friends, nearly always resulting in me having to say ‘you had to be there’, by which I mean READ THIS BOOK. The language is beautiful, easy to read and entertaining. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before in a style I can’t stop thinking about, and I can’t wait to return to it. Every human deserves to have the pleasure of immersing in this world, just make sure you’ve got a cup of tea beside you.