68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
A highly comic romp with the English gentry, you know, those fellows of Eton, living in Manors (and having impeccable ones,I am told), with little to do but receive social approval for whatever they do; all with the quietly dignified, prescient aid of their butler. Pleasant enough, but P.G. Wodehouse masterfully parodies the upper crust and their sometimes foolish pretenses as he skewers one Bertram "Bertie" Wooster ("A lesser man, caught in this awful snare, would no doubt have ceased to struggle; but the whole point about the Woosters is that they are not lesser men."); often through the verbal and psychological ingenuity of "Jeeves," the almost obedient servant who masters the master ("I fear, sir, that I was not entirely frank with regard to my suggestion of ringing the fire bell").
Wodehouse (who belongs with those other two-initialed humorists of the era, A.J. Leibling, S.J. Perelman, and T.E. White) created icons and, perhaps, an entire genre through Bertie and Jeeves. The dialogue is, as they say, splendid: Droll and dry, understated yet preposterous. Perhaps nowhere else have the strictures of etiquette been exposed with such wit: "A touch of salmon?" "Thank you" "With a suspicion of salad?" "If you please." Wodehouse manages this satire through the first-person narrative of the object satirized-no mean feat, what? (You may find yourself uttering Wodehousian English phrases for a few days after reading this.) The plot is a bedroom farce without the bedroom, with lots of the usual twists and turns, but the ending is a little too neat. One reads Wodehouse, however, mostly for his delicious language, his assortment of odd, engaging (and oddly engaged) personalities, and, above all, his adroit sense of humor and timing. Right ho! Highly recommended.
64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2005
"...write about Wodehouse and you tread on hallowed ground. He's a writer people mind about intensely, a writer who, without strong feelings himself, encourages the most vehement reactions."
- Robert McCrum
"No library, however humble, is complete without its well-thumbed copy of 'Right Ho, Jeeves,' by P.G. Wodehouse, which contains the immortal scene of Gussie Fink-Nottle, drunk to the gills, presenting the prizes to the delighted scholars of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, built around 1416."
-John Le Carre
An acquaintance of mine who was then recently introduced to Wodehouse, when I was trying to encourage him to embark on the journey of devouring the whole canon, asked me a question that is often put to Plum(Wodehouse was called Plum by those who loved him - he still is) devotees, ''What is your favorite Wodehouse?'' Now, that is what I call a very difficult question to answer. Take the case of someone visiting the Tulip Gardens of Holland being asked about the single flower he liked most among the breathtaking sight of all the flower beds symmetrically laid; wouldn't that someone be baffled to no end? Or like Shakespeare's Othello, be perplex'd in the extreme? I feel very similar when I am faced with the question. :) I love all of the master's works like ''how the male codfish which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all''. The books have never failed to put a smile on my face in many a dull moment of life caused by the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.
I think the best way to go about reading Wodehouse - the way I employed to wade through the whole Canon of 100 odd books - is to start at the Jeeves and Wooster series featuring the adventures of the kind hearted blundering upper class British man about town Bertram Wilberforce Wooster and his omniscient, omnipotent, Spinoza reading Gentleman's personal Gentleman, Reginald Jeeves and after that pounce on the Blandings Castle series featuring the absent-minded Peer, Clarence, the 9th Earl of Emsworth at the helm of affairs and his paraphernalia complete with his hat trick medal winning Berkshire sow, the Empress of Blandings. There are fourteen of Jeeves and Wooster Novels and an almost equal number of Blandings castle novels. After fraternizing with the above mentioned sterling creations of the master, one should not miss the escapades of Psmith (the P is psilent as in Pterodactyl), Uncle Fred and a lot more of other interesting creations. Before I proceed further, there is more to be said about Uncle Fred. He is a peer mostly confined to the country side and on the occasions he is unleashed on London, those being the occasions when his better four-fifths is away visiting friends or on some other errand that keeps the redoubtable Uncle Fred away from her temporarily, he tends to ''step high, wide and plentiful''. I do not know if you are familiar with the word ''excesses'', but these are what Uncle Fred invariably commits when at liberty.
Steering back to the res, I wonder where else one would come across characters with names like Hildebrand Spencer Poynt de Burgh John Hannasyde Coombe-Crombie or say, Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton. Douglas Adams may be, yes!! But with all the credit that he is due, Mr. Adams is still not Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. (Hazarding the possibility of getting didactical, I have to mention that the name is pronounced Wood-house as opposed to the popular notion Woad-house, for I every once in a while chance upon people referring the master as Woad-house) And those of the readers who start out on reading Wodehouse find themselves in a similar enviable posish of a sailing master pleased as a punch upon discovering a great chunk of land. In other words, they would feel like how Columbus would have felt when he first set foot on America.
The plot in the books generally is very intricate and enters into sub-plots and sub-sub-plots like the nested parenthesis in a complex algebraic expression and finally ends with almost none of the characters disappointed; but for me, the plot itself is incidental. It is like a rope that holds the pearls and diamonds of the master's free flowing lyrical prose replete with hilarious adjectives to describe characters and situations, Gilbertian metaphors, allusions to Shakespeare, the holy scriptures, references to the Greek and Roman Myths, the Arthurian Legend, the poems of yore and all this is done in a humorous manner that leaves you guffawing to no end. It is these things that have sent me back to the master again and again and yet again. Here I have to add a note of caution. It is not advisable to read Wodehouse in public places lest you would be considered leaky in the top floor by your suspicious and shifty-eyed onlookers.
I highly recommend PG Wodehouse to anyone who loves the English language. I myself call the favorite pastime of reading his books, `Gorging on Plums'. Not for nothing, I guess, does a friend of mine call me a `Wodehouse Crusader'.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2003
You know things are going bad for Gussie (Agustus Fink-Nottle) when Bertie steps in to lend a able hand in his affairs..
The premise of this ridiculously funny book is simple, Gussie has fallen in love with Madeline Basset, friend of Bertie's cousin Angela, who (Angela) has quarelled with her lover and Bertie's longtime friend (the episode at the Drones notwithstanding) Tuppy Glossop over the matter of the latter not acknowledging the former's tryst with a shark at Cannes. Simple enough right? Take all these people and confine them in a country house, add a liberal dashing of Aunt Dahlia and that man of intellect Jeeves, not to mention a few assorted cooks and uncles, and you have a tale of horror (for Bertie) or a tale of absolute joy for the rest of us.
When helping convey Gussie's love to Madeline, Bertie convices Madeline that he loves her too. So when Madeline falls out with Gussie, she comes running to Bertie, who would rather she not. Tuppy, is also convinced that some low-lying snake has stolen Angela from him, and thinking that this l.l.s is Gussie. Gussie, meanwhile, to brace himself for the gruelling task of presenting the prizes in the Market Snodsbury school (for which he is down at Brinkley Court) tanks up on alchohol, and threatens to sully the Wooster name in a gathering of Market Snodsbury's finest. When the going gets tough, the tough ring for Jeeves. Can the man save the hour and untangle this absolute mess?
This is one of Wodehouses's finest Jeeves books. I say that in a different way in every review of mine, but I cant help it. The man is so good! If you cannot read this book in its entirety (shame on you!) just read the description of Gussie presenting the prizes. That one chapter will brighten your day, suffuse you in a radiant light of good cheer and make you feel that life is one great glad song.
Don't miss this book. It's an absolute ringer!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2006
It is rare that I derive such pleasure from a book, but Right Ho, Jeeves, gave me a delightful surprise. Not only does Wodehouse make an art of the satirical novel, but in the process wraps the reader up in the witty speech of Bertram Wooster and his strange arrangement of friends, family, and butler. Bertram, or "Bertie," as he is commonly known, stumbles through the entire novel with the idea that he alone must bear the weight of being the sole aid to his friends' problems. Despite several attempts at a kind reprimand from Jeeves, his personal servant, ("I beg your pardon sir... What I intended to say, since you press me, was that the action which you propose does seem to be somewhat injudicious."); Bertie continues to give it his best. Among other things, Wooster implements the best intentions while attempting a match between old friends, but with little success: "All he had to do was propose." "Yes, sir." "Well, didn't he?" "No, sir." "Then what the dickens did he talk about?" "Newts, sir."
Despite the playful banter, colorful characters (such as a sensitive French cook), an inept yet lovable narrative voice found in Wooster, and of course, Jeeves, behind all is an incredibly clever satire on the "upper crust," so to speak. Although, admittedly, many readers cannot associate directly with the early-middle twentieth century, one cannot help but feel the idle, privileged and somewhat clueless lives of the English aristocracy seep from the pages of Jeeves. Wodehouse does a wonderful job of capturing the lives of people who have nothing better to do then dabble about ridiculously in the lives of one another.
Indeed, Wodehouse does much to reflect the over-privileged lives to which Bertie and company cling to so humorously. However, what might have become a novel filled to overflowing with hilarity and drama is brought back down to a more substantial level with the constant subtle humor and patronization brought in by Jeeves. "Jeeves, don't keep saying `Indeed, sir?' No doubt nothing is further from your mind than to convey such a suggestion, but you have a way of stressing the `in' and then coming down with a thud on the `deed' which makes it virtually tantamount to `Oh, yeah?' Correct this, Jeeves." The nature in which Bertie and the rest are virtually ignorant to Jeeves' little jibes such as this shows clearly the statement of Wodehouse, how the aristocracy is too self absorbed to notice even the slightest. In short, this is a wonderfully clever novel, which keeps the pages turning with quick wit and snappy humor. I highly suggest it.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2002
Previous: Thank You, Jeeves
One of the most popular of the Jeeves novels, Right Ho, Jeeves brings us to Brinkley Court, the lair of Bertie's Aunt Dahlia, who is by far my favorite secondary character in all the books. This book is overshadowed by a decidedly antagonistic relationship between Jeeves and Bertie over a certain white jacket with brass buttons, and one can practically see Jeeves snickering in the background when his brilliant solution to the problems at hand is accomplished at Bertie's expense. Nevertheless, he does "rally round" when needed, and saves Bertie from a fate more hideous than death, viz. marriage to the loony Madeline Bassett. There are moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity in this book, notably Gussie Fink-Nottle's prize-giving at the local grammar school after drinking a jug of spiked orange juice, Bertie's very ill-timed question about haggis (a personal favorite of mine-the line, not haggis), and Aunt Dahlia's calm suggestion that Bertie go out to the garden pool and drown himself. This is comedy at its brilliant best. A wonderful beginning to a chain of events and characters that will follow in many books to come.
Next: The Code of the Woosters
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 1997
Wodehouse is a legendary figure in British writing. I still find it amazing that many book-lovers in the US have yet to read him. All I can say is that a whole world, the world of Bertie Wooster, Lord Emsworth, Psmith, can open up for their enjoyment.
Right-Ho Jeeves (originally called Brinkley Manor) was my very first book written by Wodehouse. I consider it his best work. It combines two elements that are hard to do - humor and language. No word is out of place, every word, every phrase carefully chosen, and the end of every chapter delivers a new twist to an ever-growing complicated, but airtight, plot. I've read this book a few dozen times, and it still seems fresh and funny and downright farcical at times.
In terms of style, the closest American author I've read is Carl Hiaasen. The concept of a burglar-turned-environmentalist (as in Hiaasen's Native Tongue) is very Wodehouse-ian.
Needless to say, I rate this book in my top 5 of all time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2005
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Though I've read and loved the Bertie Wooster canon, listening to Jonathan Cecil's vocal renderings have added an entirely new dimension to Wodehouse's works. "Right Ho, Jeeves" was never my best-loved Wodehouse, but after hearing it read by Cecil, "RHJ" has become my all-time favorite.
Cecil's character voices are pitch perfect. If you've ever heard Madeline Bassett's voice in your head saying that "the stars are God's daisy chain," it probably sounds exactly like Cecil's breathless falsetto. And he perfectly captures Aunt Dahlia's purring timbre as she sardonically instructs Bertie on the steps he must take to drown himself in the kitchen garden pond.
Cecil manages to slip seamlessly from one voice to another. Though the scene of Gussie Fink-Nottle awarding prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School is generally ranked as one of the funniest scenes in literature and Cecil's impersonation of the normally abstemious Gussie now slurring drunk at the podium was certainly inspired, the real high point of this audio version is Cecil's virtuoso reenactment of star chef Anatole's fit of the vapors spoken in some sort of "Provence-anglais," with Bertie, Aunt Dahlia, Gussie, and Seppings the uptight butler taking seamless part in the conversation. Listen and you will gain a new appreciation of the genius of Wodehouse - and Cecil.
I've listened to other Wodehouse audio stylists and Cecil's performances are by far the best. Unlike many other readers, each voice sounds absolutely unique - I often wonder what Cecil's real voice sounds like.
If you're interested in trying Wooster on audio, try this one first. Best heard while driving to work - it's always great to start the day with a laugh.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not the funniest Wodehouse I have read--but still far better than any other "humourist book" I have attempted to read by more contemporary writers, in recent memory. Wodehouse was a master craftsman, it is always easy to picture exactly what he is writing, see the expressions on the characters faces as they utter their completely brilliant dialogue. The back and forth arguements between Aunt Dahlia and Bertie are great. The high point for me in this book was the scene in the famous Anatole's bedroom.
I was pretty excited to actually encounter Anatole in this book, I don't remember having actually seen him in action in any of the other Jeeves books i have read to date (always heard of his greatness and genius though).
The plot for this is much like any of the others for the books in this series. Some of Bertie's friends have gotten themselves into a huge knot on the romantic front (its true, its remarkably easy to pick up the lilting affectations of Wodehouse dialogue after reading his books) however--instead of having Jeeves fix it right away, Bertie beleives that Jeeves "has gone soft" and that it us up to Wooster to fix the problems. While his tactics are actually quite good--he hasn't learned to anticipate the stupidity his friends are capable of when in the midst of such plots. It isn't until the last few pages that we see Jeeves at the reigns again. At poor Bertie's expense, as always.
Very enjoyable read.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2000
An ideal gift for any post-adolescent speaker of English who isn't already familiar with Wodehouse. (If he is familiar with Wodehouse -- well, it's impossible to read just one, so you likely would be too late.) Order several copies today -- you'll avoid the Christmas Eve rush, and your recipients will be grateful ever after.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The formatting in this edition is horrible. Print is ridiculously tiny and paragraphs start just anywhere on the page. There are no consistent margins. We ended up ordering this book from another publisher because this one was just a mess to try to read.