Book Review: My Man Jeeves

I love words and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Slang is great and foreign slang is the best. Perhaps that’s why I love British books, the slang found therein is outstanding. I don’t remember why I put this book on my “to-read” list but I’m glad I did.

Jeeves is a good old-fashioned man servant to an equally old-fashioned aristocrat, Bertie. Bertie, as far as I can tell, has but one purpose in live: to spend money. The man is rich, if that wasn’t obvious by the fact the he’s got a servant, and not once mentions having had a job. So that leaves plenty of time for him and his friends to stumble upon predicaments that would do a sitcom proud. How to fool a rich aunt into thinking her nephew actually does more than write, or how to get a man with a hyperbolicly bad memory to remember his wife’s birthday are but two of the conundrums of the book. Neither the person with the problem nor Bertie can think of a way out. That’s where Jeeves comes in. The man has an answer for everything. So Bertie always asks after his counsel.

The book isn’t actually one story but rather a series of short stories. Oddly enough a few of them don’t even feature Jeeves. All the stories have one thing in common: the plot is always a tad hackneyed. If I were to judge it based solely on the plot, then I don’t think I’d recommend the book at all. However, there’s more to it than the plot. Like the aforementioned slang. Here are a few of the choicest cuts:

“…I was just brooding on life in general when I became aware of the dickens of a spate in progress down below.” (p.36)

“Devilish efficient sort of chappie, and looked on in commercial circles as quite the nib!”(p.37)

“I’ve simply spent my life scattering largesse to blighters I didn’t care a hand for; yet here was I now, dripping doubloons and pieces of eight and longing to hand them over…”(p.39)

“I’ve sat thought some pretty thick evenings in my time, but that one had the rest beaten in a canter.”(p.49)

With the promise of poetic pearls such as those, it’s definitely worth a gander. So check it out if you have the time.

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