Goodreads: My Man Jeeves
Series: Jeeves #1
A series of short stories featuring a bumbling aristocrat who tries to help his friends (especially in the romance department), but who ultimately finds his plans go awry.
“As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I’d always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but, by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves and haven’t got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don’t you know. I mean to say, ever since then I’ve been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.”
P. G. Wodehouse’s collection of short stories partly tells of the escapades of Bertie Wooster and his friends, and the ways in which his valet Jeeves cleverly gets them out of scrapes. Several of the stories, however, focus on the adventures of Reggie Pepper, a good-hearted but not-to-bright aristocratic fellow whose plans never turn out the way he thinks they will. Pepper is evidently an early version of Wooster–and it shows. Though Pepper’s stories are amusing, it is the relationship between Wooster and Jeeves and that really makes their stories shine.
Bertie narrates his stories and readily admits that Jeeves is the brains of the operation. Whenever a friend appears on the doorstep with a tale of woe, he insists that Jeeves hear the story and formulate a plan. Their friendship is truly delightful. Wooster is careless, lazy, and a bit of a fop, but Jeeves keeps him steady. Never remarking on the foibles or oddities of his social betters, Jeeves still manages to keep them all in line. The contrast between the two is a steady undercurrent of humor throughout the story.
However, Wodehouse also manages a few digs at the aristocracy. Bertie’s easy life and his ignorance of the hardships of others is always good for a laugh. So too are the pretensions of the upper class; Wodehouse loves to have aristocrats fall in love with stage girls. It’s all in good fun, though, never mean. And it’s hard not to cheer for the protagonists, even when they seem their silliest.
My Man Jeeves is only the start of a series of collections of Jeeves and Wooster stories. The humor, the characters, and the unexpected turns of the stories all have me wanting the next book now.