Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Right Ho, Jeeves" by P. G. Wodehouse

Boychik Lit Book Reviews - No. 5 - KRLA 870 AM Los Angeles


Set in the Roaring 'Twenties, Right Ho, Jeeves by the British humorist P.G. Wodehouse is a collection of stories about a young wealthy gentleman, Bertie Wooster, and his manservant Jeeves. Bertie is well-meaning, but lazy and not particularly bright. He freely admits Jeeves is the brainy one. Bertie always makes a mess of getting a chum out of romantic or money trouble, and Jeeves always comes up with a some cockeyed scheme that saves the day.
Just after World War I, the male population of Europe had been decimated by the war. Bertie’s comic fear of his dowager aunt reflected the reality that much of England’s  private wealth was then in the hands of older women. Young men like him who had been infants during the war were so appalled by the state of the world that they coped by acting like bratty little boys who refused to grow up.
So – avoid responsibility, romantic entanglements, and financial conundrums. Fear marriage and anyone in uniform. Pursue amusement, particularly if a practical joke will end in what Bertie’s chums call a "good wheeze." Fraternize with like-minded adult males who, despite their elevated social standing, aspire to remain boys. Encourage food fights, but only with dinner rolls so as not to create a mess for which responsibility would have to be assumed. Coordinate rugby scrums in the clubroom, but only if fragile crockery has first been cleared. Solving real-world problems (such as romantic entanglements) by way of practical jokes and stratagems might not work but it's always worth a good try.
Our world – like his – is anything but silly these days. But sometimes what Bertie called a “good wheeze” is just the thing to put a chap right.
For Boychik Lit, I’m Gerald Everett Jones. You’ll find some silliness in my novel Mr. Ballpoint, and you can listen to these audio reviews on www.boychiklit.com.
Read my longer review of Right Ho, Jeeves here and on Goodreads.com.
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