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!)

2 comments:

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.

Calon Lan 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.