This book is an omnibus of short stories describing the adventures of Bertie Wooster, an amiable but dim aristocrat in early 20th-century England, and Jeeves, the consummate gentleman’s gentleman. Bertie is a friendly soul who just wants to be left alone to enjoy himself. Unfortunately, he has plenty of friends and relatives who are continually making demands on him, both financially and emotionally. His terrifying Aunt Agatha holds him in contempt, yet she is constantly trying to “improve” him and set him up with equally terrifying young females. His friend Bingo Little is always falling desperately in love with some girl or other, and for some reason he always approaches Bertie for help. Though Bertie is not overburdened with brains, he has a generous heart and usually wants to help. Good thing he has Jeeves, whose gravity and intelligence always manage to get Bertie and his friends out of whatever scrapes they’re in.
What can I say about Jeeves and Wooster that the entire world hasn’t said already? Wodehouse has a very specific style and brand of humor, and literally nobody does it better than he does. Bertie’s narrative voice is an utter joy to read, showcasing his own lack of intelligence but also satirizing the pretentious language of some popular fiction at the time. Strangely enough, his friends and family all think of him as the village idiot, but he’s probably smarter than most of his friends — definitely wiser than poor Bingo, for example! And the interplay between Bertie and Jeeves is wonderful; Jeeves always appears completely respectful and subservient, yet he dominates Bertie mercilessly (for his own good, of course!). I definitely recommend the story “Bertie Changes His Mind,” which is narrated by Jeeves and demonstrates how skillfully he is able to manipulate his employer. My one caveat is that you should pace yourself while reading this book, because the stories are all very similar and could become tedious after a while. But I loved it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys British humor and wants a good belly laugh!