Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: Originally 1930, this edition 2011
Length: 6 hours, 52 minutes
Read by: Jonathan Cecil
The Short Version:
A collection of eleven stories originally published individually in Strand and other magazines.
Why I Read It:
I have read the first three of the Jeeves books and had heard that the audios were good so I decided to give this one a try in the audio format.
From the Norton Paperback edition:
Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic short story collections in the English language. Whoever or whatever the cause of Bertie Wooster’s consternation—Bobbie Wickham giving away his fierce Aunt Agatha’s dog; getting into the bad books of Sir Roderick Glossop; attempting to scupper the unfortunate infatuation of his friend Tuppy for a robust opera singer—Jeeves can always be relied on to untangle the most ferocious of muddles. Even Bertie’s.
This audio book has ruined reading Wodehouse for me. I may never read another of his books again. That’s because hearing this book as performed by Jonathan Cecil was an absolutely delightful experience and I want get all the Wodehouse audiobooks I can. Forget print. I want Jonathan Cecil to read them all to me.
The stories almost always involve some grand scheme of Bertie’s to get himself or a friend or relative out of a jam. They are usually ridiculous and over complicated. While Jeeves might not end up doing exactly what Bertie has in mind, he always manages to do what it takes to achieve the proper outcome.
While Bertie may at times have a different plan in mind he is always impressed with the way Jeeves manages to overcome whatever obstacle may present itself.
Every young man starting life ought to know how to cope with an angry swan so I will briefly relate the proper procedure. You begin by picking up the raincoat which somebody has dropped; and the, judging the distance to a nicety, you simply shove the raincoat over the bird’s head; and taking the boathook which you have prudently brought with you, you insert it underneath the swan and heave. The swan goes into a bush and starts trying to unscramble itself, and you saunter back to your boat, taking with you any friends who may happen in the moment to be sitting on roofs in the vicinity. That was Jeeves’s method and I cannot see how it could have been improved upon.
Jonathan Cecil does a masterful job of giving each character a distinctive voice without ever seeming like he’s over performing it. He captures perfectly Bertie Wooster’s moments of overconfidence as well as his moments of missing the point.
For Jeeves he conveys an immeasurable patience as well as the ability to calmly listen to Bertie’s ridiculous schemes yet go on to do what turns out to be the right thing. Mostly however he is at all times a gentleman’s gentleman.
“What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? Do you realise that Mr. Little’s domestic happiness is hanging in the scale?”
“There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.”
These short stories are perfect for driving around audio. They are easy to drop and pick up again with listening to only a few minutes at a time. The humor is light and witty with the occasional laugh out loud moment. I enjoyed reading Wodehouse but I cannot wait to listen to more.
Rating 4.5/5 for the book
Rating 5/5 for the narration