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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Inimitable Jeeves

Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Originally Published: 1923
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Read by: Frederick Davidson

The Story

The Inimitable JeevesFrom the Scribd product page:

When Bingo falls in love at a Camberwell subscription dance and Bertie Wooster drops into the mulligatawny, there’s work for a wet-nurse. Who better than Jeeves?

This is the first Jeeves and Wooster story “Plum” ever wrote. Wodehouse weaves his wit through a wide collection of terrifying aunts, miserly uncles, love-sick friends, and unwanted fiancés. Bertie gets into a bit of trouble when one of his pals, Bingo Little, starts to fall in love with every second girl he lays his eyes on. But the soup gets really thick when Bingo decides to marry one of them and enlists Bertie’s help. Luckily, he has the inimitable Jeeves to pull him out of it.

The Response

After my experience with The Secret Garden on audiobook, I decided that I needed to really give this whole audiobook thing a try, and signed up for a trial with Scribd. Streaming of unlimited audiobooks for less than $10/month? Sounds like a great deal to me. While their selection didn’t seem quite as good as Audible (where you have to pay a monthly fee and pay for the books), they had a lot of older titles that were on my TBR list… so it seemed like the more logical choice for me.

I decided that The Inimitable Jeeves would be my first test with Scribd. I’m working my way through P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves books anyway, which are all absolutely hilarious.

As I’ve watched the BBC Jeeves and Wooster show, I find that I always hear Jeeves in Stephen Fry’s voice… the fact that this was an audiobook did certainly make for a slightly different experience just from that perspective. While Davidson did well with most of the voices, it was a little jarring at first to not hear the same inflections for Jeeves than when Fry does Jeeves. I did get adjusted to it in the long run, but there was that adjustment period.

Aside from that though, I quite liked Davidson’s narration. It was really easy to listen to while I was designing, which was definitely the prime objective for me to start listening to audiobooks in the first place.

As one would expect from Wodehouse’s, this one had quite a few chuckle-inducing moments. Bertie really is one of the most loveable idiots ever developed. I would both love and be terrified to see into his brain to figure out how he comes up with the ideas he does, and see how on earth he is able to convince his friends that his ideas are good ones. (Seriously? How on earth does Bertie think that pushing a kid into the water would be something that Jeeves would recommend? And how on earth does Bingo agree to this?)

This story was quite enjoyable – Wikipedia tells me that 14 of the 18 chapters are actually derived from 7 of Wodehouse’s previously published short stories – this does certainly explain why the book was so episodic. It didn’t necessarily feel like the events happened directly one after another (Jeeves and Wooster were actually in America part way through the book with no mention of the going to or coming from there); the only plot point that really tied it all together was Bingo’s love life. While the stories of Bingo’s love life weren’t necessary to make the book enjoyable, it gave an overall cohesion to the series (think, for example, of how television shows used to be episodic and you didn’t need to watch them in order, whereas now more of them if you miss an episode you’ve missed something important for the rest of the season).

The Bottom Line

The Jeeves books are hilarious – this instalment was no different at all. I definitely thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to listening to more of the Jeeves books – especially if they’re narrated by Davidson and published by Blackstone Audiobooks as well.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:18 am December 1, 2014.
Category: Fiction and Literature
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