How Right You Are, Jeeves and how I wish you were my butler!
When people ask me which book changed your life I'm at a loss to answer. But if there is ever a mood changer, it's the wonderful world of Wodehouse novels. Especially that inhabited by the foolish simpleton Wooster and the great man himself, Jeeves. The man who reads Spinoza, quotes Hamlet, prefers Dostoevsky's work and has a solution to every problem known to mankind.
This book is a perfect example of the 'idyllic world created by Wodehouse' although Bertie might have a thing or two to say on this. The action takes place in Brinkley Court, the country house of Bertie's Aunt Dahlia. Bertie is summoned by the 'old ancestor' to keep an eye on the various 'inmates' in the 'old snake pit'. An American playboy (Willie Cream) and his mother, a famous detective writer Adela Cream, are among the guests at the large house. Also present is Bertie's headmaster from his Malvern House days, Mr. Aubrey Upjohn, and his stepdaughter, Phyllis. But the most dangerous presence of all is that of young Bobbie Wickham, the one of whom Jeeves rightly said, 'I would always hesitate to recommend as a life partner a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of hair'.
The silver cow creamer jug (Wodehouse readers will be familiar with this grotesque prized possession of Bertie's Uncle Tom) makes its appearance also and creates bucketsful of trouble for Wooster. Hearts are asunder, engagements made and broken but no Jeeves around to fix it all until better sense prevails and Bertie decides to fetch Jeeves from his holiday at Herne Bay where the butler was, among other things, judging a seaside bathing-belles contest. Which comes as a relief because how can a man only survive on Spinoza?
No matter how high or low the tide, once Jeeves is around the solution is not far behind. Something of the sort happens here too and the day is saved at the cost of declaring Bertie 'off the rocker', a 'kleptomaniac' and a 'man who has lost his marbles'. But Bertie bears it all in good stead if it helps the business deal of his dear Uncle Tom with Homer Cream (BIG American Tycoon). It was his Uncle Tom who used to send Bertie postal orders, sometimes for as much as ten bob, in the miserable Malvern House days. And Wooster is always there for his family. Even Aunt Agatha, 'who is known to devour her young and conduct human sacrifices at the time of the full moon'.
Some might accuse the Bertie and Jeeves novels of being repetitive but that is an incorrect and unacceptable view. They have a timeless quality about them. And even if they don't change your life, they will always change your mood for the better.