Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Jeeves and Wooster series is such a delight to listen to that I find myself spacing out the books in an attempt to make the series last as long as possible. But already I know that I will be returning to these books again and again. Admittedly, you need to be in the right sort of mood for the books, as they are light and silly, bordering on the ridiculous, but they are also intelligent and, despite the formula, often full of surprises that end up tickling me to no end.
In this installment of the series (which, for practical purposes, I'm defining as the novels, although there are a number of short stories out there as well, which I'll move on to once I'm finished with the novels), our hero Bertie find himself in a bit of a pickle. He has been invited to spend some time in the country at a place called Deverill Hall, as has his friend Gussie Fink-Nottle (who is engaged to the niece of the family). When Gussie is arrested and can't show up at Deverill Hall, Bertie must act quickly. He is afraid that if Gussie's engagement to Madeline Bassett falls through, Madeline will expect Bertie to marry her, as she is convinced he is suffering from unrequited love of her. Bertie would, of course, do so, because he is a gentleman, but he is prepared to do everything in his power to avoid such a situation. Therefore, he shows up at Deverill Hall posing as Gussie, and Gussie later shows up posing as Bertie, and Bertie's friend Catsmeat poses as Bertie's valet, leaving Jeeves to pose as the faux Bertie's man.
This is a brilliant and hysterical farce, one of my favorites so far. I was also interested to learn that there was some bad feeling between Wodehouse and A. A. Milne at the time this book was written, which explains the snide comments Bertie makes about Milne's writing when he is expected, in his guise as Gussie, to recite some of Milne's poetry in front of an audience. Bertie comments: "A fellow who comes on a platform and starts reciting about Christopher Robin going hoppity-hoppity-hop (or alternatively saying his prayers) does not do so from sheer wantonness but because he is a helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control."
I have recently started watching the television series for the first time, the one with Hugh Laurie, and my ten- and twelve-year-old daughters are loving it! I was initially taken aback by how young Jeeves is, but I've gotten past that and am enjoying the show nearly as much as the books.
Books in the Jeeves and Wooster series:
1. Thank You, Jeeves
2. Right Ho, Jeeves
3. The Code of the Woosters
4. Jeeves in the Morning (also Joy in the Morning)
5. Mating Season
6. Return of Jeeves
7. Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
8. How Right You Are, Jeeves
9. Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
10. Jeeves and the Tie That Binds
The Mating Season (#5 in the Jeeves and Wooster novels series) by P. G. Wodehouse; narrated by Frederick Davidson (Blackstone Audiobooks, 2005; originally published in 1949)