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The Inimitable Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse
Series: Jeeves #2
226 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Jeanne

Witty and lighthearted Jeeves-and-Wooster comedy; some language and questionable morality.

Plot

"The Inimitable Jeeves" is the second in a collection of stories featuring the big-hearted, thick-headed Mr. Bertie Wooster and his much more knowledgeable valet, Jeeves. For a rich young fellow with nothing to do but lounge around his London clubs and ward off the occasional demanding aunt, Bertie has an uncanny knack for getting into scrapes - either by himself or with the questionable help of his friend Bingo, who falls in love with every second girl he meets. From a waitress named Mabel to Charlotte the revolutionary, Bingo's heart is constantly on the line, and somehow Bertie always ends up being party to it. And where Bingo's heart is involved, it takes all of Jeeves' brains and suavity to extricate the two from their own predicaments.

Morality

Not much. Bertie and his set of friends, while not "bad," are much too rich and lazy to be of any earthly good. The capers often involve lying to various relations; one involves Bertie posing as an author for some time. Jeeves' methods, while ingenious, are also pragmatic and not usually aboveboard. All of the circumstances are played up for humor and, with Wodehouse's hilarious touch, are bound to make the reader laugh; however, that does not make the morality any less questionable.

Spiritual Content

Bertie and several friends bet on the length of country preachers' sermons. A man who poses as a clergyman turns out to be a notorious thief. A young woman who is very intent on church duties is described as respectable, but comes across as something of a prude. Bingo frequently describes his feelings for a particular girl in terms of "holy devotion," which is obviously ironic considering the amount of women he has "fallen in love" with.

Violence

Bertie is threatened several times by angry men, but all violence is purely slapstick.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Most of the characters drink, but (it appears) in moderation.

Sexual Content

Bingo's constantly falling in love plays a major role in these stories, but there is no crudity.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Exclamations like "dash it all," "Good Lord," and "Great Scott" are used frequently by Bertie. "Bally" is used to describe anything irritating or out of the ordinary. "D*mn" is used a couple times, once by Bertie, and once a man uses "darn."

Conclusion

For a light, jolly read on a dreary day, or any day at all, there are few writers who can match P.G. Wodehouse. The style is fun and chummy, written from the first person and Bertie's point-of-view, chock-full of 1920's slang and a wit that never takes itself too seriously. Bertie himself, despite his lack of intellect, is endearing: the reader can hardly help feeling sorry for him when he finds himself in the soup. But it is Jeeves, of course, who makes the short stories so memorable as he sails through, respectfully tidying up wherever there is a mess of any sort. While there is the smattering of what you might call "light" swearing and a looseness of morality when it comes to Bertie's scrapes, the comedy is remarkably clean, fresh, and never grating. Wodehouse knew how to make his readers laugh.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3
Written for Age: 13+

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