Friday, May 9, 2008

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

After reading several book blogs referring to Wodehouse is laugh-out-loud funny, I was happy to see that our tiny school library had a copy of one of his books. I must say I enjoyed Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, but I couldn’t take Wodehouse on a regular basis. After almost 20 years of deliberately choosing literary “health food”, this seemed too much like candy. I could enjoy this kind of thing in small doses: while waiting in an airport, let’s say, or while lying in a hammock on my vacation.

One thing that I did quite accidentally, but which I think enhanced my enjoyment of the book was that I had previously listened to B.J. Harrison at Classic Tales reading a Wooster/Jeeves story (episode #50 of his podcasts). That podcast made it much easier to imagine the harried Wooster depending on the ever-tranquil Jeeves. The monotone voice Harris used for Jeeves was priceless. Clearly the butler was unflappable! My two friends who are Wodehouse fans recommended the BBC production of Jeeves & Wooster (which stars Hugh Laurie of House fame), but I didn't enjoy it. In the book Wooster has at least half a mind (enough to write of his escapades anyway). In the TV show he’s an absolute idiot and I find it hard to watch movies or read books in which the hero is unlikable. (But book lovers already know that the books are usually better than their cinematic counterparts!)


Shauna said...

I couldn't disagree more about the wonderful BBC series and can't imagine Bertie ever being unlikable, either in the books or as portrayed by Hugh Laurie, a great Wodehouse fan and wit himself.

B said...

I have to agree with Shauna about the BBC series and Hugh Laurie as Bertie. I think he captures the character quite perfectly. But I agree about the book itself -- absolutely hilarious. I have most of the Wodehouse books, and I cycle through them once a year or so when I need a good laugh.