Well, I'm pleased to report that I finally pushed my way through my first (and very likely last) P. G. Wodehouse novel. I've read selected shorts here and there and always wanted to attempt a novel. Now, with the backing and help of my book group, I've done so--a milestone accomplishment.
However, I fear the task was accomplished with dismal results. My report will not tickle the ears of many, because I found Wodehouse the literary equivalent of the Three Stooges when I was hoping for the Marx Brothers. Reading through this story of mixed up identities at the house of the fearsome Aunts, I was constantly amused and frequently dismayed. Dismayed, because it seemed that every line strained so hard to amuse, tried so hard to be funny, worked feverishly to entertain, with the net result that the entertainment value, for me, was diminished. And perhaps the most telling point of all--Jeeves and his actions occupies all of about twenty pages in the entire opus. This is nearly all devoted to the fathead Bernie Wooster, who, if one were to meet in real life, one would be tempted to give a stern lecture to about coming to terms with reality.
That's not to say that there were not some extremely amusing, laugh-out-loud moments in the book. (One of them comes in the description of an exotic dancer than must have been the inspiration for "The Cobra Dance" of Bride and Prejudice fame.)
But the net effect, the final summation, for me was that while the book amused, it did so to the point of tiresomeness--that effect that comes when, while reading you're also squeezing those pages you have left to go and wondering if you'll get through them and if so, when.
Summation--I find myself hard-pressed to recommend this book. I find myself perplexed by the legions of fans who are wild about these books even while acknowledging that there are some powerfully amusing moments. Sadly, I would say, that if a fan this might tickle your fancy, but I suspect that it is not a good place for the novice reader to start.
Even so, well written, and if not my cup of tea, reasonably well executed--***1/2