Thursday, 29 December 2011

Review:- P G WODEHOUSE – “Ring for Jeeves”

Year Published: - 1953
Where the book was from:- My own copy
ISBN: - 9780099513926
Pages: - 240pp
Genre: - Humour
Location:- England
How I came across it: - Read (for the second or third time) as part of a challenge to read a book from each year of my life
Rating: - ***** ****

One sentence summary:- Classic English humour from the classic English humourist.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:- Jeeves is on loan to the Ninth Earl of Rowcester while Bertie Wooster is learning how to cope with life without a man servant. The Ninth Earl is somewhat impoverished but a plan to make money as a bookie goes awry when they (temporarily) find it necessary to cheat a big game hunter. It hardly spoils the plot to advise you that all comes right in the end!

General comments:- “You don’t analyse such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendour.” Stephen Fry.


“The Oaks, Madam.”
“And what are the Oaks?”
It seemed incredible to the waiter that there should be anyone in England who could ask such a question, but he had already gathered that the lady was an American lady, and American ladies, he knew, are often ignorant of the fundamental facts of life. He had once met one who had wanted to know what a football pool was.

Its architecture was thirteenth-century, fifteenth-century and Tudor, its dilapidation twentieth-century, post-World War Two.

Monica regarded her husband with that cold, wifely eye which married men learn to dread.

“Coming out! The dear old getting-ready-for-market stage! How it takes one back. Off with the glasses and the teeth-braces.”
“On with the things that push you in or push you out, whichever you needed.”
This was Rory’s contribution, and Monica looked at him austerely.
“What do you know about it?”

“Potty what?”
“The lady does appear to diverge somewhat from the generally accepted norm, Sir Roderick.”

Arriving in the living room, he found that the number of ladies available for being jouined there had been reduced to one – reading from left to right, Jill.

“Socialistic legislation has sadly depleted the resources of England’s hereditary aristocracy. We are living now on what is known as the Welfare State, which means – broadly – that everybody is completely destitute.”

… was a skinny stripling of some sixteen summers on whom Nature in her bounty had bestowed so many pimples that there was scarcely room on his face for the vacant grin which habitually adorned it.

He thought nostalgically of his young manhood in London at the turn of the century… Butlers had been butlers then in the deepest and holiest sense of the word.

“I suppose what’s happened is that you’ve had one of these lovers’ tiffs.”
Jill did not intend to allow without protest what was probably the world’s greatest traghedy since the days of Romeo and Juliet to be described in this inadequate fashion.

At the sight… no fewer than three hairs of his left eyebrow quivered for an instant, showing how deeply he had been moved by the spectacle.
… Four hairs of Jeeves’s right eyebrow stirred slightly, as if a passing breeze had disturbed them.

AUTHOR Notes:- P G Wodehouse (1881 - 1975) Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be widely read. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of pre-war English upper-class society, reflecting his birth, education, and youthful writing career.

Pelham (Plum) Grenville Wodehouse was born in 1881 in Guildford, Surrey. Having spent his early years in Hong Kong he was sent to Dulwich College and worked as a banker and journalist before embarking on a career as a prolific and popular writer. He became an American citizen in 1955 and was knighted in 1975 a few weeks before his death in Southampton, New York.

An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by modern writers such as Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams, J. K. Rowling,and Terry Pratchett.

New or unusual words:- A word one doesn’t hear nowadays – bally - adjective, adverb British Slang - damned (euphemism for bloody ).

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