My Man Jeeves, written by P G Wodehouse, is a collection of short stories initially published in the United Kingdom in the early th century Some of these popular stories were originally published individually in the United Syayes in the The Saturday Evening Post andor Collier's Weekly before the book was published in the United Kindgom This popular collection of short stories highlights some of the best known works of P G Wodehouse and is an important publication for readers of short stories collectors of the works of P G Wodehouse to add to their collection

10 thoughts on “My Man Jeeves

  1. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    'Sir?' said Jeeves, kind of manifesting himself. One of the rummy things about Jeeves is that, unless you watch like a hawk, you very seldom see him come into a room. He's like one of those weird chappies in India who dissolve themselves into thin air and nip through space in a sort of disembodied way and assemble the parts again just where they want them.

    Most people today probable associate Jeeves with the man that has all the answers not because they have read P.G. Wodehouse, but because they have accessed Ask Jeeves on the web.

    Not the Jeeves I know

    Over the years I've read Wodehouse here and there, but it has been so long since I've read most of them that I have decided to go back through the entire works of Wodehouse. Overlook Press has reissued Wodehouse in affordable hardback editions that are actually kind of fun to collect.

    This collection of stories is equally split between four Jeeves and Wooster stories, and four stories with an early version of Bertie Wooster under the name Reggie Peppers. There was such a shift in style between the Jeeves stories and moving into the Peppers stories that I actually looked at the book to see if I had grabbed the right one. There is humor in the Peppers stories, but nothing like the graceful, yet ribald wit of the Jeeves and Wooster stories. I had no clue that Reggie Peppers existed in the Wodehouse world so I'm a bit gleeful to make his acquaintance.

    I was popping off answers to emails at work yesterday and after reading back through one such message I discovered bits of Wodehouse lilt to my language. I had to go back through and tone my word choices down. I've found living in the Midwest it is best to take any elevated language or tone out of my writing because people here assume that I am showing off. Also don't sound too happy about anything or they will think you are going crazy. My point being though is that Wodehouse's writing style is so engaging and contagious. He is also laugh out loud funny and here is one example out of many that had me chortling.

    Lady Malvern was a hearty, happy, healthy, overpowering sort of dashing female, not so very tall but making up for it by measuring about six feet from the O.P. to the Prompt Side. She fitted into my biggest arm-chair as if it had been built round her by some one who knew they were wearing arm-chairs tight around the hips that season.

    Okay so part of the reason this was so funny to me was I had one of the people that work for me in my office for a yearly evaluation. She was sitting in one of my office chairs.


    Everything went swimmingly until we finished and she got up to leave. She is one of those women that are pear shaped. She took two steps with the chair still attached to her hips and then the chair just popped off.

    I have to give myself credit I held it together.

    My brain was scrambling for something to say that A)wouldn't make me laugh and B)wouldn't come across in any way shape or form as insulting. I came up with are you alright?. She laughed and said that she might need to lose some weight or I might need to get some bigger chairs. I notice now when she comes in to talk to me that she lists to one side to keep one hip from hooking under the arm of the chair. So I laughed at Bertie's assessment of Lady Malvern's tight fit in his arm-chair and the memory it inspired of the chair incident in my office.

    Now of course I couldn't read the books without seeing Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie as Jeeves and Wooster. I have watched the series twice and if you haven't seen it you are really in for a treat. Several stories from this book were lifted for episodes. Much of the dialogue is exactly the same because how could you improve on the wit and repartee of Wodehouse?

    I endeavor to give satisfaction, sir.

    Now part of the charm of Hugh Laurie playing Wooster is that his facial expressions are just priceless. He does gobsmacked about as well as anyone in the film industry. I find myself laughing out loud at his expression without him having to say a word. For me, Tim Conway is the funniest man ever, but Hugh Laurie as Wooster is on the short list.

    I tried to think of something to say, but nothing came. A chappie has to be a lot broader about the forehead than I am to handle a jolt like this. I strained the old bean till it creaked, but between the collar and the hair parting nothing stirred.

    Most disturbing, sir.

    Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse in 1955 was naturalized as an American citizen. We do our best to steal the most talented from around the world. He wrote 96 books, so I will have my work cut out for me to read them all, but it is also such a relief to know that there are so many of them and each one I'm sure will elicit a heady combination of snorts, snickers, and chuckles. Wodehouse lived to be 93 serving notice to the rest of us that comedians who avoid early deaths from drug abuse tend to live to a ripe old age. I suggest to all that you read Wodehouse, laugh out loud don't smother your glee, let it out, and in the process you will be healthier, and will, according to studies, live longer. Keep a Wodehouse handy for a day when you are feeling glum.

    P. G. Wodehouse

    Precisely sir.

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  2. Evgeny Evgeny says:

    This book is a big improvement over the first one, The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories. This one contains 9 stories with 5 of them telling Jeeves and Wooster adventures in New York. The first one was decent enough, but nothing to write home about; the next one finally delivered: it was amusing, clever, and the way Jeeves dealt with yet another difficult situation finally made me his big fan. I also need to mention that these 5 were all good: some better some worse, but in general good.

    This leaves us with 4 stories. These are about a guy named Reggie Pepper whose numerous friends end up in desperate situations usually due to their wives/girlfriends/fiancees, etc. The guy does not have an advantage to have Jeeves as his manservant so as a result he often gets the short end of the stick while trying to help. While as the whole I liked these less the second Reggie Pepper story contained the only scene of the book which made me laugh out loud.

    Reading this book made me realize something I hate to admit. Every single one of the problems of friends of Wooster and Pepper could be completely solved by making them (friends that is) getting a soul-sucking job 9 to 5 the majority of modern people have; every single one. And here I thought I would never say anything nice about soul-sucking jobs. Oh well, I guess I learned something new.

    In the conclusion the book was amusing enough to earn 4 stars, just do not expect laugh out loud scaring the people around you while reading. Yes, I will continue reading about further misadventures of Bernie Wooster and Jeeves.

  3. Bradley Bradley says:

    Slapstick Aristocracy? I guess that pretty much sums it up. The butler is always smarter and more ingenious than anyone else in the book. :)

    It's pretty and pretty much the beginning of all other similar writings and imitators, and for that, I really appreciate it. Moreso, it's funny and still relevant even if it's just a tad dated. We've still got tons of historical novel interest, but this one was timely for its day in 1919.

    The timing and the idiocy and the fairly complicated plotting in the background really made poor Wooster shine as the idjit that he is. I heartily recommend this for anyone interested in the humorous classics.

  4. Apatt Apatt says:

    What ho! This Goodreads review lark is a rummy thing. Here I sit, drinking buckets of tea, that indispensable tissue restorative, waiting for the old muse to come up with something, squeezing the old bean until it turns purple, and the blighted screen remains stubbornly blank. What is a frightful chump like me to do? How interesting it must be to be one of those animal-trainer Johnnies: to stimulate the dawning intelligence, and that sort of thing.

    Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, best portrayal of J&W ever.

    OK, if I keep that sort of faux-Wodehouse business up the old bean will surely explode—or possibly implode. Still, one must endeavor to give satisfaction and all that sort of rot. It’s been many years since I read a Wodehouse book, there was a time when I could not get enough of them. Unfortunately if you read to many of them one after the other they do tend to seem very similar and the magic fades. Better to not over indulge, don’t you know.

    P.G. Wodehouse’s books are kind of magical, though, there is never any substance to them that I can discern, no moral lessons or in-depth exploration of the human condition. They are just fun and astonishingly written. Wodehouse wrote several series of books, but the most popular one by far is clearly the “Jeeves and Wooster” series.

    Fortunately, quite a few of Wodehouse’s books are in the public domain including My Man Jeeves. My Man Jeeves is a collection of eight short stories, half of them featuring Jeeves and Wooster, the others feature Reggie Pepper, one of Wodehouse’s less well known (and less funny) protagonists. In any event, none of the stories fail to raise a smile or the odd chuckles. I don’t expect to split my sides reading a Wodehouse book, his humour is not in the style of Douglas Adams or Monty Python, though he may have been an inspiration for both of them. It is enough that his stories are “extremely diverting”, uplifting, and it is wonderful just to soak up the language, don’t you know. It has been said—by some literary Johnnies—that Wodehouse did not simply write but orchestrated the English language. Who am I to argue with these brainy blighters?

    All the stories are about helping a friend out of a difficult situation, usually disinheritance; and they tend to involve deception, stealing or a harebrained scheme of some kind. If the scheme is Jeeves’ it usually works, sometimes with unexpected results, if it is anybody else’s they go pear-shaped—landing the schemer “in the soup”.

    Reggie Pepper—like Bertie Wooster—is a “gentleman of leisure”, living off an inheritance and spends all his time amusing himself. Reggie is a little bit brighter than Bertie and also has a butler called Voules, who speaks like Jeeves but is not nearly as intelligent or concerned about his employer’s wellbeing. Reggie’s schemes for helping his friends always go awry. The most memorable one is when he kidnaps a child in order for his friend to present said child back to his cute auntie, and be regarded as a hero. It transpires that the child is not related to the girl at all.

    The Jeeves and Wooster stories are all set in New York, where Bertie is on the run from his irate Aunt Agatha. My favorite of the four stories is “The Aunt and the Sluggard” which involves his friend Rocky Todd and Rocky’s formidable aunt. Bertie has to pretend that Rocky owns his flat which results in his being evicted from his own residence by the aunt who takes an immediate dislike to him:
    “The aunt took the chair which I'd forgotten to offer her. She looked at me in rather a rummy way. It was a nasty look. It made me feel as if I were something the dog had brought in and intended to bury later on, when he had time. My own Aunt Agatha, back in England, has looked at me in exactly the same way many a time, and it never fails to make my spine curl.”

    When I review a short story collection I usually write a brief note for each individual story. Not this time, old scout, the stories tend to be fairly similar. “The cases are in some respects parallel, sir”, as Jeeves would say. They are all pretty much top-hole. If you are feeling down and need cheering up it occurs to me that reading My Man Jeeves might prove efficacious.

    Librivox audiobook read by Mark Nelson, an American chappie, don’t you know, but he did a corking job. American accent for all the British characters notwithstanding, but narrated with plenty of vim!

    Wodehouse is one of the most quotable authors ever. Here are some of my favorites from this book:

    Thick Bertie
    “I'm a bit short on brain myself; the old bean would appear to have been constructed more for ornament than for use, don't you know.”

    Superhero Jeeves
    “He's like one of those weird chappies in India who dissolve themselves into thin air and nip through space in a sort of disembodied way and assemble the parts again just where they want them.”

    “He flowed silently out of the room—he always gives you the impression of being some liquid substance when he moves.”

    Jeeves’ enigmatic smile
    “Jeeves smiled paternally. Or, rather, he had a kind of paternal muscular spasm about the mouth, which is the nearest he ever gets to smiling.”

    Reggie Pepper
    “A fellow who may have been a perfect knight-errant to a girl when he was engaged to her, doesn't feel nearly so keen on spreading himself in that direction when she has given him the miss-in-baulk, and gone and married a man who reason and instinct both tell him is a decided blighter.”


  5. Sean Gibson Sean Gibson says:

    If you’re in the throes of dark days, you’ve got three main options to turn to in order to get you through: mind-altering substances, food, and P.G. Wodehouse. While there are very few things a good Old Fashioned and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies can’t improve, Wodehouse might be the most effective remedy of all.

    As noted in a review of another Wodehouse classic, Jeeves and Wooster stories are highly formulaic, and the delight in reading them comes not from plot, but from Wodehouse’s bracingly hilarious prose and what-the-hell-does-that-mean slang. This book is no different, but take note: not every story contained herein is a Jeeves and Wooster story; some of them are Reggie Pepper stories, which knocks this down a star rating.

    Why, you ask? Well, Reggie stories are like Jeeves and Wooster-lite. Reggie was, as I understand it, a prototype for Bertie Wooster, and it’s clear that the idea wasn’t fully baked. The Reggie stories lack the effervescent charm and over-the-top hilarity of his descendent. Given the sequencing in this book (Jeeves/Wooster stories, a brace of Reggie stories, and then back to Jeeves and Wooster), it’s a little bit like buying a Led Zeppelin album, rocking out to the first four songs, and then puzzling out why Robert Plant and company apparently took a break to do lines of coke off of a groupie’s backside while letting Whitesnake handle the next three songs before coming back to bang out the final two tunes themselves.

    Still, Wodehouse is always worth a go, and I’ll be back again for another cracking wheeze the next time I’m feeling rummy.

  6. Fabian Fabian says:

    Stories of rich men being nice to their fellow rich friends, or deceiving their rich families, are everywhere. That there is an inherent goodness in Wooster (or his doppelganger, Pepper--Wodehouse switches protagonists & they are pretty identical other than by name, which is indeed part of the theme that all aristocrats are equally dim) may be the takeaway here, in these modern times. Jeeves is the perpetual Everyman, trapped in a world he's too good for, being appreciated & always adulated by the Gods; remaining in that constant position, always in some unworthy person's life (tragically so).

  7. Trevor Trevor says:

    One of the things Good Reads is particularly good for is answering strange little questions about ourselves. Questions we might not think to ask otherwise, but then when we do ask make us wonder how else we would ever have known… For example, the other day it struck me that I don’t really read any Wodehouse in the Summertime. And I’ve been able to check when I read all my Wodehouse's and it is true. I guess the reason for that is that I don’t need his warmth and sunlight and laughter in the Summertime, but come the Winter he is like a hotwater bottle in between starched white sheets. An unexpected warmth when all seems icy and unforgiving.

    I listened to this as a talking book and it was good. But the problem with the first story on the cd is that Jeeves is the narrator – and it doesn’t quite work, in much the same way that stories where Holmes is the narrator don't quite work. You need to hear the story from the perspective of the guy doing the oooos and ahhhhs, not the magician.

    Still, couldn’t have come at a better time – utter magic.

  8. Jason Koivu Jason Koivu says:

    I've read this all before! I know I sometimes complain that once you've read one Wodehouse story you've read them all, but no, I mean I literally have read all these stories already. Ah well, I've also seen every episode of shows like All In The Family or Are You Being Served? about half a dozen times, so why not give these wonderful words a rerun read through?

    Well the answer would be because this is not Wodehouse's best effort at joining up words in a pleasing manner. He's had better goes at it with say The Code of the Woosters, The Mating Season or Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves.

    And then there's the issue of all these Jeeves & Wooster stories being set in New York. I've never been a fan of the stories set in America and I finally put my finger upon the why. Wodehouse's American characters living in America are dull. They lack the daffy spark of his English ones or even his Americans visiting the UK. What is it about England that makes them all go hilariously looney? Must be something in the gin water.

    AND THEN there's the issue of the title. When a book's titled My Man Jeeves it'd better be carpetted wall-to-wall with Jeeves. This is not. Only about half of the stories are about the Jeeves and Wooster dynamic duo. The rest are about Reggie Peppers, who is a Bertie Wooster-lite.

    If I was to bottomline all this, I'd say My Man Jeeves is not a rotten potato from the first Bush administration that you've finally unearthed from behind the fridge. No, it's a decent enough book and a good one to start off your Wodehouse reading career. However, there's better hilarity to be found amongst the author's canon.

  9. Rebecca McNutt Rebecca McNutt says:

    I'd seen the 1990's British show Jeeves and Wooster back in junior high, but this was my first time actually reading the stories. I loved them, especially the way the character Jeeves himself breaks every stereotype of the mindless lapdog valet, proving himself to be extremely intelligent and unexpectedly resourceful despite his constant dedication to his job. There's tons of weird humor in the stories and all kinds of small adventures, not to mention wacky versions of the rich and strange and also Wooster himself, a well-meaning but not particularly bright guy who sort of just happened to fall into good fortune but doesn't flaunt it around the way people might expect. My only problem with this anthology is that only have its stories were actually about the titular characters; the rest were about a somewhat unmemorable character who wasn't nearly as interesting.

  10. Jaya Jaya says:

    Re-reading childhood favorites may not always be a good idea.The caricatures images of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie will forever be etched in my mind as Jeeves and Wooster (can't imagine anybody else in the role of these two characters.) I don't know whether that is a good thing or not...
    The stories did manage to make me giggle and break out into a chuckle once or maybe twice...can't say much beyond that. In all honesty it was just an okay read, which will be a 2 starred reading experience for me. Adding one more for old-times-sake.