“It is impossible to be unhappy while reading the adventures of Jeeves and Wooster. And I’ve tried.”
I was extremely, tearfully, hormonally, and existentially (maybe even adverbially) unhappy when I began reading How Right You Are, Jeeves this past weekend. I read it purely for escape from my woes. I was so unhappy that I had to read the first page approximately five times over before I gathered the facts that Bertie and his friend Reggie, better known as Kipper, Herring are just sitting down to breakfast when the phone rings. . .
And off we go. Jeeves is set to go on holiday, off to Herne Bay for the shrimping and to judge a bathing beauty contest. Bertie is invited by Aunt Dahlia down to Brinkley Court, Market Snodsbury to be there confronted with various and sundry dilemmas and romantic entanglements of the type that only a Wooster could become involved in. All the Wodehousian cast are there: a domineering young female of unusual beauty, and a rather goofy girl who goes ga-ga over romantic poetry read aloud in the garden, a former schoolmaster of unpleasing aspect, a nerve specialist disguised as a butler, visiting Americans of dubious sanity, the afore-mentioned Kipper to whose assistance Bertie is bound by the Code of the Woosters, and even Jeeves himself, who must cut short his holiday to come to the rescue of the hapless Bertie.
At the end of the book, I was left chuckling softly, with only a mild melancholy to send me to bed. That change in mood and attitude, The Wodehouse Effect, is God’s gift to the English-speaking world, as channelled through Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. I won’t say that it never fails, nor that it cures all ills, but it’s always worth a try —and much cheaper than hospitalization.
(By the way, it looks as if I’ve already read this book under its British title: Jeeves in the Offing. No matter. The medicine works just as well whether its already been taken before or not.)