Category Archives: Fiction

Carter, Scott William: Shatterboy (2010)

For some reason I absolutely loved this cover created by ?????

Shatterboy originally appeared in Circada in November 2005. It is a short and wonderful science fiction story about loss and letting go. Mr. Carter manages to pack quite a punch into his 8 pages. Such a fragile tale. This is a must-read.

Flagg, Fannie: Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man (1992)

Cover photo: Corbis

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man was first published as Coming Attractions in 1981. I just had to add the cover for Coming Attractions because it represents coming of age so perfectly. That is in part what Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man is about – coming of age. Daisy Fay gets a typewriter from her grandmother. For those of you who are too young to understand the concept, this is what a typewriter looks like:

I learned to type on one of these and I imagine Fannie Flagg did too. That was what we had to work with in 1981.

What Fannie Flagg does this time is take us into the life of Daisy Fay. Idyllic is not exactly the word I would use for it. Instead we are shown a resilient girl that grows up in a troubled family. Her way of coping with the realities of her life bring us hilarious and sad situations. She gets into trouble time and again. Sometimes with good cause and sometimes due to the idiocy of the adults around her.

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man is yet another example of the quality of Fannie Flagg’s writing. I think this is the one that my dad liked the most, probably because of the similarities to his own life. Reading Fannie Flag leaves me with hope for a better future and love for the characters I have just said goodbye to.

Flagg, Fannie: Standing in the Rainbow (2002)

Cover photo: Corbis.

As a character in this book I can tell you that everything in it really did happen, so I can highly recommend it without any qualms whatsoever. With this quote from Mrs. Tot Whooten we are once again brought into the universe that one of my favorite authors has created for my and your pleasure.

Fannie Flagg has the gift, the gift I tend to on and on about without being able to define exactly what it is. Most of us have probably experienced the Author Gift at least once. You know those times when you are dragged into a piece of writing while struggling to keep yourself IRL at the same time. What a wonderful time to be a Reader.

Me, I love Aunt Dorothy, our radio-host, and source of information about the happenings in Southern Missouri. She is as complex and well-rounded as a written character can be. Finding her own way around her experiences has made her into the loving and straight-forward (Southern style) person that she is. There is something about the Southern style that is appealing even to this Viking-hearted Norwegian.

The winner!” screamed Ward McIntire and the audience was on its feet applauding. What glory. What a triumph. Five minutes later Bobby ran into the Trolley Car Diner with gum still sticking to his eyelashes and ears, waving his free-pass book in the air, yelling, “JIMMY … I WON … I DIDN’T GET RATTLED. I WON!” But before Jimmy had a chance to congratulate him he had to run out the door, headed for the drugstore to tell his father. When he got home his mother had to use kerosene to get all the gum out of his hair, and he used up all twenty-five passes in less than a week taking everybody to the movies but he didn’t care. He had blown the biggest bubble in the history of the contest, people said. Maybe the biggest in the entire state. From that day on he felt special.

How can you not love characters like that. Tot, Bobby, Aunt Dorothy, the Oatman Family, Hamm, Charlie and Anna Lee are all characters that interact and add to the quality of Standing in the Rainbow. I hope you get as much pleasure out of reading Standing in the Rainbow as I did.

Flagg, Fannie: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (1998)

Fannie Flagg is four years younger than my mother and six years younger than my dad. As such, many of their experiences have been similar. Technological advances have followed the same tempo even though they are from different countries.

Cover photo: Elliot Erwitt/Magnum

The jump between the media world in the 1940’s, represented by Aunt Dorothy’s radio program, and the media world of the 1970’s, represented by Dena Nordstrøm’s television job, is immense yet non-existent. Gossip and social mores are often more important than politics and the “larger” issues.

Once again Fannie Flagg takes us to the lives of people living in the South of US. This time we visit Missouri and the phenomenon “passing”. Racial passing refers to a person classified as a member of one racial/social group attempting to be accepted as a member of a different racial/social group (Wikipedia).

It is one thing for me as a whiteish woman to sit here wondering at a world that makes so many of its citizens feel they need to hide their origins. To me it is an abstract exercise. For others it is not. People (probably myself included) attach shame to attributes that come with birth (whether these be physical or sociological). Imagine the fear of discovery of that “terrible/uncivilised/evil/…” quality. Sometimes these fears are founded and sometimes (fortunately) they are not.

Unravelling the mysteries of the past brings about surprises and feelings of betrayal, loss and love with the characters of Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! Fannie Flagg gives us an opportunity to face our own prejudices in a manner that brings us into the world of gossip and suspense that media is (whether it be new or old). As with Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! is “utterly irresistible” (Time). You will miss something truly wonderful if you choose not to read this novel.

Flagg, Fannie: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987)

My first meeting with Fannie Flagg (or Patricia Neal) was on the film-creen. I am trying to remember just how far back she and I go, and I believe I might have a tentative meeting period set at Grease the movie (with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta).

When I encountered her literary work I had become an adult. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe became a movie. I got to meet the two friends Idgie and Ruth whose experiences made me laugh and cry.

Cover photo: Arthur Rothstein

Another few years down the road, I picked up the novel and fell in love again. Fannie Flagg became one of my favorite authors just a few pages into the book. And now, just a few weeks ago my dad fell in love as well, and not just with Fried Green Tomatoes. Having read one of her novels, he just had to borrow the rest of the Fannie Flagg novels I have in my library.

Part of his love for her work lay in the time period described. These were tough times in the US and the rest of the world. They weren’t called the depression years for nothing. Alabama struggled with recognizing women and non-christians/whites as equals.

I would have wanted Idgie for a friend. Her love, fierceness and loyalty toward Ruth is priceless. Ruth needs someone like Idgie to be able to see beyond the prison that life made for her.

I love the humour in the novel. When the search for Frank Bennett is on and Sheriff Kilgore eats at the cafe is priceless. Another moment occurs right after when the Sheriff steps into the beauty parlor with his men and gets thrown out all embarrassed at having overstepped the gender boundaries.

The story of the storyteller, Cleo Threadgoode, and her listener, Evelyn Couch, is heart-warming and uplifting. I still carry the images of the changes in Evelyn from the movie in my head. Her change in the novel are just as immense.

Flagg managed the job of jumping between the storyteller and her memories. Her writing flows, boy does it flow. If you want to read a novel about life, then Fannie Flagg is the author to read.

The film Fried Green Tomatoes came out in 1991 and is based on the novel.


  • Oscars: Nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
  • American Comedy Award: Nominated for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) and Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
  • Golden Globe: Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
  • USC Scripter Award: Nominated
  • WGA Award (Screen): Nominated for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
  • GLAAD Media Award: Won Outstanding Film
  • Wise Owl Award: Won Television and Theatrical Film Fiction
  • USC Scripter Award: Won


  • BAFTA: Nominated for Best Actress and Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • BMI Film Music Award: Won
  • Young Artist Award: Won Best Young Actress Under Ten in a Motion Picture

Ford, Jamie: The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009)

Wow. Sad in a happy way this novel. I’ve read the Norwegian version of it. There are a couple of translation hiccups but the translator has done an excellent job.

People are strange and we have a dark side, a side we seldom like seen in the light of day. The treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII illustrates this dark side of humanity. Letting ourselves be ruled by our fears is incredibly tempting. I cannot count the times I have allowed my own fears to rule my decisions.

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gives an excellent account of what it must have been like to be a child during this time. Henry (Chinese-American) has to watch his father be completely ruled by his old hatreds and fears of the Japanese. Seeing him forget that people who just happen to be of Japanese heritage are also Americans was difficult for Henry. Falling in love with Keiko and having to stand up to his father while 12/13 years old must have been horrifyingly difficult for a young boy. Yet Henry did.

Such courage.

The beauty of this novel lies in Ford’s touching depiction of a difficult subject. While the novel is fiction the internment was not. Panama Hotel is there and people were placed in camps with razor wire around them and soldiers pointing at the prisoners with armed weapons. This is also who we are.

Grisham, John: Skipping Christmas (2001)

My, my, my, isn’t Christmas fun????? I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of the holidays. I find them costly and full of weird little things that are supposed to be “the right thing to do”. My head just doesn’t get what the big deal is with all of the decorations and having to buy gifts.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham is about that. Lucas is overwhelmed by all of the “things” that need to be done surrounding the so-called holidays. Sick and tired of all of the work and money that goes into Christmas celebrations, Luther Krank gets his wife to go along with his idea of dropping Christmas and instead go on a cruise.

The only thing Lucas and Nora have forgotten is that they are part of a group, and as such certain sanctions and rewards follow any decision that will affect the group. Not putting up Christmas lights and decorations is a major break from group traditions.

It is difficult to go against group decisions. Not only you, but the group you belong to, struggle with the new situation. I feel Grisham is really good at describing these effects. I’ve seen it in his mystery/thrillers and now in Skipping Christmas. Skipping Christmas is only 177 pages long and is an interesting look at values and things we do just because we have always done them. Humor, warmth and insight are excellent qualities in a novel about humanity’s strangeness.

Pratchett, Terry: Dodger (2012)

Premerie of Terry Pratchett's Dodger - Adapted by Stephen Briggs
Studio Theatre Club presents “Dodger”

YES! I’ve read Dodger. Genius once again. Way to go Terry!

While reading Dodger, it is easy to see where Pratchett got his inspiration for the Discworld from. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the various fictional and real characters that have shown up in various forms in his novels.

I am certain there is a whole sleuth of People out there waiting to catch Pratchett and his Alzheimer out. Phooey.

Dodger from 22 to 26 January 2013

Terry attacks Dodger in the same way he has written most of his other books: With a great sense of humour and tons of warmth.

Pratchett’s portrayal of Victorian London leaves out nothing when it comes to poverty and the struggle for survival. Not everyone who came to London met with good fortune. In fact, most were probably on the wrong end of dark deeds done and would themselves have preferred to be on the other side of that act.

Stench, filth, disease and poverty were rampant in the less than lovely city of the 1800s. However, it does make for an excellent backdrop to Dodger’s dealings with fictional characters and characters from history books. Not all of them belong in the era portrayed, but Pratchett isn’t exactly known for writing historical novels. As the quote on his page states: “In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find…”

Dodger is a delightful character (as well as being the title of the book). He ties the various stories together in his fight to keep the mysterious love of his life, Simplicity, out of the hands of her assailants. This tosher uses his place of work to aid in his heroic deeds. The sewers of London have never smelled better.


Stage adaptation by Stephen Briggs

Wodehouse, P.G.: Jeeves and Wooster (1915-1974)

From the first series

I believe I have said a thing or two about British humour and here I go again – YEAH! I LOVE British humour. It beats every other country’s, including my own.

From 1990-1993 I had the great pleasure of watching Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie play the delightful characters of Jeeves and Wooster. Jeeves and Wooster are characters that were devised in the brilliant mind of P.G. Wodehouse and thankfully the television series retains the goofyness of Wooster and the dry, sarcastic and brilliant ways of his valet Jeeves.

It was love at first sight and set me wondering if this Wodehouse was worth checking out. YES. The insanity of the characters of the British upper-class is carried through all of Wodehouse’s stories about this eccentric duo.

For once, I will recommend that you both watch the series and read the books (audio or otherwise).

P.G. Wodehouse 1904 (23 yrs)

P.G. Wodehouse was an English humourist who wrote plays, novels, short stories, poems, song lyrics and journalistic articles. His Jeeves and Blandings Castle short stories and novels began in 1915 (Extricating Young Gussie). Wodehouse continued writing about the quirky characters in this world until 1974 (Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen), the premier character being Jeeves.

The inferiority complex of old Sippy (1926)
Illustration by Charles Crombie

Jeeves, wonderful Jeeves. Jeeves is the valet of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster (“Bertie” to friends). This means that Jeeves is the personal servant of Wooster. However, Wooster does at times lend him out to friends as a butler. Which is why there are more stories with Jeeves than there are with Wooster.

Basically, the plot of each story is that either Bertie, or one of his friends, gets into trouble. After they have thoroughly enmeshed themselves, Jeeves rescues them from themselves. They come to Jeeves (or ask Bertie to ask him) for advice on some problem or other.

I hope you will enjoy this zany duo as much as I have. Get the television series, get the novels and get the audio-books. They are all hilarious. I haven’t seen the films listed below, so you will have to get a review of them elsewhere.

As with Sherlock and Christie’s characters, Wodehouse’s have been depicted a great many times (see below).

Novels and short stories

The Man With Two Left Feet
Photo Credit Wikipedia

The Man with Two Left Feet (1917) – a collection of short stories of which one of them is about Bertie and Jeeves.

My Man Jeeves

My Man Jeeves (1919): A collection of short stories by Wodehouse. Four of these stories were about Jeeves and Wooster. One of the others – Helping Freddie – was rewritten for the US market in a collection of short stories called Carry On, Jeeves. Its name was changed to Fixing it for Freddie and Jeeves and Wooster made an appearance.

  • Leave It to Jeeves, was reprinted in Carry on, Jeeves as The Artistic Career of Corky: “Bertie’s friend Corky fancies himself a portrait painter but until a commission materializes he is totally dependent on his rich uncle for support. Now Corky wants to marry and there is the delicate matter of how to introduce the girl to his uncle without getting cut off. Bertie turns to Jeeves to come up with a plan. He comes up with a good one and it works but not quite in the way expected.”
  • Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest: “Lady Malvern, a friend of Wooster’s dreaded Aunt Agatha, drops in one morning and manages to deposit her twenty something son Motty to his care while she tours the country and its prisons to gather material for a book.  Jeeves is distant at the moment because Wooster has taken to an unsuitable hat and tie. It turns out that Motty intends to live in a most riotous manner while mum is away creating all manner of complications. Eventually Jeeves comes to the rescue.” (Listening Books)
  • Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg: “An adventure involving Jeeves, Wooster and ‘Bicky’, whose uncle, the Duke of Chiswick, has the potential to be a wealthy benefactor to his nephew. Unfortunately, the Duke is what’s known in the right circles as a ‘hard-boiled egg’ – ie ‘notoriously the most prudent spender in England’. When Bicky contacts Bertie, our jaunt begins.” (Listening Books)
  • The Aunt and the Sluggard: “Rocky Todd is the laziest American on Long Island. His aunt desires to experience the glamor of New York. Now, when Rocky is pushed into the night life on pain of disinheritance, it threatens to destroy him, (or at least, inconvenience him irreparably). Can Jeeves find a way to serve the aunt and save the sluggard?” (Listening Books)

The Inimitable Jeeves

The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)—A semi-novel consisting of eighteen chapters, originally published as eleven short stories (some of which were split for the book):

  • Jeeves in the Springtime: “Bingo Little is in love with Mabel and wants to marry her. He needs his uncle’s approval so that the latter will not only not cut off his allowance, but will, in fact, increase it.”
  • Aunt Agatha Takes the Count (Pearls Mean Tears): “Aunt Agatha intends to engage Bertie to “a nice quiet girl” named Aline Hemmingway. Bertie is forced to spend some time with Aline and her brother, Rev. Sidney Hemmingway, but finds them dreary. After Sidney loses money at the races, he borrows £100 from Bertie with Aline’s pearl necklace on deposit. Coincidentally, Aunt Agatha’s pearl necklace goes missing.” (Wikipedia)
  • Scoring Off Jeeves (Bertie Gets Even): Aunt Agatha’s goal for Bertie is that he marry. She feels he is a wastrel. The chosen girl is Honoria Glossop. Honoria Glossop is the daughter of the renowned nerve specialist Sir Roderick Glossop and his wife Lady Glossop.
  • Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch: Aunt Agatha is still trying to marry off Bertie to Honoria. In fact Bertie seems to have become engaged to her. But when Sir Roderick comes to check out his daughter’s fiancee he finds himself wondering if Bertie is completely loony.
  • Jeeves and the Chump Cyril: “Aunt Agatha breaks her icy silence, and asks Bertie to look after a fellow Englishman, Cyril, who is visiting in New York. She only has one stipulation: keep Cyril off the American stage. But by the time Bertie gets the imperiling word, Cyril lands a part in a musical comedy. And with Jeeves turning a bit of a cold shoulder after a bust up over some purple socks, what’s a Wooster to do?” (Classic Tales)
  • Comrade Bingo: “Richard “Bingo” Little falls in love with the daughter of a left-wing (probably communist or socialist) leader called Charlotte Corday Rowbotham. In an attempt to get close to her, Little joins the group, called the Heralds of the Red Dawn, whose aims are to “massacre the bourgeoisie, sack Park Lane and disembowel the hereditary aristocracy”. This is more than a little at odds with our chums Jeeves and Wooster.” (Listening Books)
  • The Great Sermon Handicap: Bertie’s cousin Eustace offers to let Bertie in on a money-making scheme that he and Claude have come up with. Bingo is already at Twing. Bertie and Jeeves decide to og down to Twing and find out what this money-making scheme is all about.
  • The Purity of the Turf: “Bertie’s Uncle George wishes to marry a young waitress. Aunt Agatha is dismayed and, through Bertie, offers the girl ₤100 to break off the engagement; instead, however, Bertie meets Maud Wilberforce, who has a connection with his uncle.” (Wikipedia)
  • The Metropolitan Touch: Bingo has once again fallen in love, but she does not seem the least bit interested in him. He asks that Bertie and Jeeves come help him win the heart of the love of his life.
  • The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace: “Aunt Agatha wants to pack her wayward nephews Claude and Eustace Wooster off to Africa but both have fallen in love with a singer at a nightclub Bertie took them to the night before, and sneak back from the docks to Bertie’s place to pursue her.” (Wikipedia)
  • Bingo and the Little Woman (Bridegroom Wanted): “Bingo Little wants to marry a waitress so needs his uncle’s blessing. Bertie is pushed into helping him by pretending to be author Rosie M. Banks again.” (Wikipedia)

Carry on, Jeeves

Carry on, Jeeves (1925)—Ten stories:

  • Jeeves Takes Charge: Uncle Willoughby guest-stars in this story. The one constant in Bertie’s life is Aunt Agatha’s attempt to marry him off to a suitable young woman.  Once again she is at it and Jeeves has to step in and save Bertie.
  • The Artistic Career of Corky (Leave It To Jeeves): “The first fully recognizable Jeeves and Bertie story. Bertie’s cousin arrives in New York lured by the bright lights of Broadway, forcing his dreaded Aunt Agatha to make an unscheduled visit to America. A struggling artist needs help in a romantic intrigue.” (Listening Books)
  • Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest: “Bertie receives a surprise visit from the writer Lady Malvern and her son Wilmot. A friend of Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, Lady Malvern requests that Wilmot stay with Bertie for a couple of weeks whilst she is away in America. Bertie agrees, to find that the seemingly mild-mannered Wilmot may have a wilder side, especially when it comes to alcohol!” (Listening Books)
  • Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg: “An adventure involving Jeeves, Wooster and ‘Bicky’, whose uncle, the Duke of Chiswick, has the potential to be a wealthy benefactor to his nephew. Unfortunately, the Duke is what’s known in the right circles as a ‘hard-boiled egg’ – ie ‘notoriously the most prudent spender in England’. When Bicky contacts Bertie, our jaunt begins.” (Listening Books)
  • The Aunt and the Sluggard: “Rocky Todd is the laziest American on Long Island. His aunt desires to experience the glamor of New York. Now, when Rocky is pushed into the night life on pain of disinheritance, it threatens to destroy him, (or at least, inconvenience him irreparably). Can Jeeves find a way to serve the aunt and save the sluggard?” (Listening Books)
  • The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy: Jeeves has a niece whose name is Mabel. She “falls in love with Charles Edward “Biffy” Biffen during an ocean voyage. An old friend of Bertie’s, Biffy is so absent-minded that he subsequently forgets everything but her first name and that he successfully proposed to her. Feeling she has been toyed with, Mabel breaks off the engagement.” (Wikipedia)
  • Without the Option: Bertie comes into trouble with the law due to a misadventures involving a policeman’s helmet. He then has the great misfortune to meet a girl with intentions toward him. Jeeves will have to come to the rescue once again.
  • Fixing It for Freddie: In its original version Fixing It for Freddie was called Helping Freddie. Helping Freddie did not contain Bertie and Jeeves, but in Fixing It for Freddie they appear. Bertie attempts to reunite his friend Freddie With ex-fiancee Elizabeth. Inevitably things go wrong.
  • Clustering Round Young Bingo: “Bingo Little, friend of butler Jeeves’ master Bertie Wooster and a member of the Drones Club, is also a hopeless romantic. Our heroes Jeeves and Wooster often try to help him into or out of romantic entanglements but to little avail, or at least they often make matters worse!” (Listening Books)
  • Bertie Changes His Mind: Bertie Changes His Mind is the only story that is narrated by Jeeves. In it Bertie decides he wants children and in order to do so he has to marry. Jeeves is very much against such an arrangement and we get so see just how much control Jeeves has over Bertie.

Russian Very Good Jeeves
Very Good Jeeves
1996 Russian translation

Very Good, Jeeves (1930) — Eleven stories:

  • Jeeves and the Impending Doom: “Bertie Wooster finds himself on a losing streak and lands himself at the mercy of his aunts, Dahlia and Agatha, and only Jeeves is capable of extricating him from disaster.” (Amazon)
  • The Inferiority Complex of Old SippyAs usual one of Bertie’s friends need the help of Bertie (well really Jeeves). Sipperly is in love with the poetess Gwendolen Moon. Add to that, his ex-headmaster, Waterbury, insistings that Sipperley insert his writings into the magazine. But Sipperly’s inferiority complex keeps him from both tasks. Jeeves and Wooster are as usual at odds about Bertie’s acquisitions.
  • Jeeves and the Yule-tide SpiritBertie Wooster receives an invitation to spend Christmas at Skeldings Hall, home of Bobbie Wickham and Lady Wickham. Aunt Agatha telephones Bertie to inform him that Sir Roderick Glossop will also be at Skeldings, and she wishes Bertie to make a good impression on Sir Roderick. (Bertie had previously been engaged to Sir Roderick’s daughter Honoria Glossop.) (Wikipedia)
  • Jeeves and the Song of SongsTuppy greatest desire is to become betrothed to Cora Bellinger. Sadly, he has abandoned Aunt Dahlia’s daughter Angela and Aunt Dahlia is not pleased. Jeeves is called in to help.
  • Episode of the Dog McIntosh (Jeeves and the Dog McIntosh): Aunt Agatha has an Aberdeen called McIntosh. For some reason she has left Bertie in charge of him. Bertie discovers that one of his guests, Roberta Wickham, has given McIntosh to the stage producer Blumenfield’s son and is desperate to get McIntosh back. Once again Jeeves comes to the rescue.
  • The Spot of Art (Jeeves and the Spot of Art)While in the US, Bertie and Jeeves meet Tuppy Glossop who is again up to his shenanigans. Meanwhile, Bertie is currently engaged to Gwladys Pendlebury, who like all his girlfriends, brings trouble into Bertie’s life. Add in Bertie’s troublesome cousins shipped to him by Aunt Agatha and Jeeves has his hands full.
  • Jeeves and the Kid ClementinaBobby Wickham gets Bertie take her and her kid cousin, Clementina, to dinner, and also to get him to drive Clementina back to school, where he is caught by a policeman while sitting in a tree on the school property.
  • The Love That Purifies (Jeeves and the Love That Purifies): Aunt Dahlia’s chef Anatole is the envy of her friends and aquaintances. She has entered into a wager that places her in danger of losing the lovely Anatole for a while. Obviously she does not want this to happen and asks Bertie (or more specifically Jeeves) for help.
  • Jeeves and the Old School ChumBingo Little has finally settled into married bliss in an inherited estate by Norwich. Mrs. Bingo’s friend, Laura Pyke, visits the newlyweds and it appears as if she and Bingo do not become fast friends. Bertie brings Jeeves along to visit the couple.
  • The Indian Summer of an UncleAunt Agatha is a very class-conscious woman and when Uncle George falls in love with a mere waitress she sends Bertie and Jeeves to solve this case of what she considers a grasping woman.
  • The Ordeal of Young Tuppy (Tuppy Changes His Mind): Tuppy Glossop seems to fall in love all the time and Bertie and Jeeves have to come ablazing to save him from himself. This time he has chosen a dog enthousiast.

Thank You, Jeeves
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank You, Jeeves (1934)—The first full-length Jeeves novel

As you might have guessed by now, Jeeves pretty much runs Bertie’s life. Every once in a while Bertie rebels and this time it takes the form of playing the banjolele. Jeeves is, to put it mildly, displeased with his boss and leaves his service for that of one of Bertie’s friends.

Jeeves’ replacement Brinkley is not at all up to Jeeves’ high standards and he and Bertie come to heads several times throughout the story. When Bertie comes into contact with Jeeves again through his friend Chummy things are off and running.

Right Ho, Jeeves
Right Ho, Jeeves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right Ho, Jeeves (1934) (US title: Brinkley Manor)

We are back at Brinkley Court the home of Aunt Dahlia (Bertie’s favorite aunt). Once again we are entangled in confusing relationships and expectations from relatives. Bertie decides that he is much better qualified to give advice to his friends and forbids Jeeves to interfere. But we all know that Bertie is probably the least qualified person on this planed to give advice on relationships and he begs Jeeves to swoop in and save the day once more.

The Code of the Woosters - Russian Cover
The Code of the Woosters – Russian Cover
1992 translation

The Code of the Woosters (1938)

As with all of Wodehouse’s novels about Jeeves and Wooster The Code of the Woosters is a satiric look at pre-WWII upper-classes and their shenanigans. This time Aunt Dahlia desperately wants a cow-creamer. Until writing this article I did not know what a cow creamer was. Now I do:

w5118_cow_creamer_1064_generalIt seems this cow-creamer should have belonged to Uncle Tom, but, instead, was purchased by Sir Watkyn Bassett. “Aunt Dahlia insists that Bertie steal it back, but Sir Watkyn and his companion Rodrick Spode are on to him. To make matters worse, Stephanie Byng also has an ingenious plot to endear her fiance to her uncle (none other than Sir Watkyn) that entails Bertie stealing the cow-creamer. And she’s willing to use blackmail. Damned if he does the deed and damned if he doesn’t (or rather beaten to a pulp by Spode) Bertie needs Jeeves’s assistance more desperately than ever.” (Wodehouse Russia)

1st edition cover
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Joy in the Morning (1946) (US title: Jeeves in the Morning)

“Bertie is persuaded to brave the home of his fearsome Aunt Agatha and her husband Lord Worplesdon, knowing that his former fiancée, the beautiful and formidably intellectual Lady Florence Craye will also be in attendance. What ensues will come to be remembered as The Steeple Bumpleigh Horror, with Bertie under constant threat of engagement to Craye, violence from her oafish suitor Stilton Cheesewright, the unfortunate interventions of her young brother Edwin and unnamed peril from the acid tongue of Aunt Agatha. Only the masterful Jeeves can save the day.” (Wikipedia)

1st US edition cover
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Mating Season (1949)

“Having dispatched Aunt Agatha’s young son Thos to his seaside Borstal, Bertie Wooster intends to pay a visit to Deverill Hall, Hampshire, to lend a hand with the village entertainment. Before he sets off, his old pal Catsmeat has a favour to beg: will he ensure that his beloved Gertude is never alone with the eligible Esmond Haddock? Bertie agrees. He must also ensure that the Deverill aunts, of which there are many, think highly of Gussie Fink-Nottle so that the engagement between Gussie and the dreadful Madeline Bassett remains intact. So Bertie, fearless to the end, poses as Gussie for the duration. So far, so complicated. The plot thickens even further, however, when ‘Gussie’ awakes the next morning only to be told that there is a new guest at Deverill: someone called Bertie Wooster…” (Russian Wodehouse Society)

Ring for Jeeves
Ring for Jeeves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ring for Jeeves (1953)—Only novel without Bertie (US title: The Return of Jeeves), based on the play Come On, Jeeves: what is the opening chapter of the UK edition becomes chapter 5 in the US edition, with other chapters being re-arranged accordingly (Wikipedia)

“The story opens with Jeeves’s employer, Bertie Wooster, having enrolled in a school that teaches the idle rich how to fend for themselves. In his absence he has allowed Jeeves to offer his services to William “Bill” Rowcester, the impoverished 9th Earl of Rowcester, whose stately home, Rowcester Abbey, is an encumbrance for which the Earl is seeking a buyer. Jeeves becomes embroiled in a complicated affair involving ‘fake’ bookies, stolen gems, a wealthy American widow and a big game hunter, but, as in all Jeeves novels, the imperturbable valet succeeds in resolving matters to the satisfaction of all parties.” (Wikipedia)

Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (1954) (US title: Bertie Wooster Sees It Through)

“Bertie gets himself into an utter pickle when he and Jeeves share Aunt Dahlia’s hospitality with the loathesome G. D’Arcy Cheesewright (aka Stilton) and his on/off fiancee Florence. Add to this combination a fake plot to rob Aunt Dahlia of her pearls and the scene is set for calamity…” (Russian Wodehouse Society)

1st UK edition
Photo credit: Wikipedia

A Few Quick Ones (1959) — One short story in a book of ten

The plot of Doing Clarence a Bit of Good (1958) became the basis for Jeeves Makes an Omelette. (A Brief Guide to Jeeves and Wooster)

Aunt Dahlia sends Bertie off on a mission again. In order to get Cornelia Forthergill to write a piece for Dahlia’s magazine Mylady’s Budoir he is going to have to get rid of Cornelia’s father-in-law’s painting Venus. What could possibly go wrong?

Jeeves in the Offing
Jeeves in the Offing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jeeves in the Offing (1960) (US title: How Right You Are, Jeeves)

Previously Bertie and Sir Roderick Glossop have not seen eye to eye but Jeeves in the Offing sees a change in their relationship. The two of them have met when Bertie seeks solace at his Aunt Dahlia’s due to Jeeves going on holiday. Plenty of trouble lands at Brinkley Court at the same time as Bertie and Bertie is going to have a struggle to fit all the pieces together.


Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963)

Once again matrimonial bliss is threatened while Bertie stays at Totleigh Towers. He is not at fault. Instead Medeline Fink-Nottle puts Gussie on a vegetarian diet. Various other plots need to be solved by Jeeves, such as winning a fiance, artwork and culinary attractions.

Jeeves and the Greasy Bird first published in Playboy
Jeeves and the Greasy Bird
first published 1965-12 Playboy (US) / 1967-01 Argosy (UK)

Plum Pie (1966) — One short story in a book of nine

Jeeves and the Greasy Bird: As usual one of Bertie’s friends is having a problem with his love-life. Honoria has to get married before Sir Roderick’s fiance will marry him. Aunt Dahlia and the duo get involved in getting Honoria and Blair Eggleston (young Author who writes for aunt Dahlia’s magasine) together.

Much Obliged Jeeves

Much Obliged, Jeeves (1971) (US title: Jeeves and the Tie That Binds)

“Political dynamite threatens to explode in Market Snodbury. At Junior Ganymede, the top club for gentlemen’s gentlemen, each member is instructed to write into a famous book the ghastly habits and foibles of their employers, as a warning, and possibly a deterrent, to those entering their employ. Unsurprisingly, the celebrated work contains numerous pages about the eccentricities of one Bertram Wooster. Imagine the horror if the book fell into the wrong hands…” (Russian Wodehouse Society)

“The two editions have slightly different endings. Wodehouse’s American editor gave the US edition its title and rewrote the last page, adding Jeeves’ disclosure about the eighteen pages from the Junior Ganymede Club Book, and his expressed desire to remain permanently in Wooster’s employment.” (Wikipedia)

1st Edition
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen (1974) (US title: The Cat-nappers) – Wodehouse’s last Jeeves and Wooster novel completed by him before his death in 1975.

Bertie has discovered a mysterious rash and is advised by his doctor to retire to the country to recover. Once in Maiden Eggesford with Jeeves and his aunt Dahlia chaos and confusion ensues, this time involving horses and cats.

Most of these stories are available for free on the net.


Thank you, jeeves - film 1936Thank You, Jeeves! (1936) — Arthur Treacher as Jeeves, and David Niven as Bertie, meet a girl and help her brother stop two spies trying to get his secret plans. The film has almost nothing to do with the book of that title. Although Treacher looks the part, the script calls on him to play the character as unhelpful and rather unpleasant, with none of the trademark brilliance of the literary Jeeves.

Step Lively, Jeeves! (1937) — two swindlers con Arthur Treacher as Jeeves, claiming he has a fortune waiting for him in America, where Jeeves meets some gangsters. Bertie does not appear, Jeeves is portrayed as a naive bumbler, and the film has nothing to do with any Wodehouse story.

By Jeeves (2001) — A recorded performance of the musical, released as a video (with UK Martin Jarvis as Jeeves and US John Scherer as Bertie). It also aired on television.


Stageplay Thank You Jeeves

Come On, Jeeves (opened 1954, still presented from time to time as of 2008 under its name or as Ring for Jeeves)—A 1952 play by Guy Bolton and Wodehouse (adapted into the 1953 novel Ring for Jeeves), opened 1954 in Worthing, England (cast unknown), published in 1956.

(Come On, Jeeves—1952 play with Guy Bolton, adapted 1953 into Ring for Jeeves, produced 1954, published 1956)


The world of wooster
The World of Wooster (1965-1967)
Ian Carmichael as Wooster and Dennis Price as Jeeves

The World of Wooster (30 May 1965 to 17 November 1967, 20 episodes of 30 minutes)—A half-hour comedy series for BBC1 (with Dennis Price as Jeeves, and Ian Carmichael as Bertie, plus Derek Nimmo playing Bingo Little).

Jeeves and Wooster (22 April 1990 to 20 June 1993, 23 episodes of 55 minutes)—A hit ITV series starring double-act Fry and Laurie (with Stephen Fry as Jeeves, and Hugh Laurie as Bertie).

By Jeeves - musical


Jeeves (22 April 1975 to 24 May 1975, 38 performances)—An unsuccessful musical loosely based on Wodehouse, opened in London (with Michael Aldridge as Jeeves, and David Hemmings as Bertie). Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics & Book by Alan Ayckbourn and based on the Wodehouse book: “Code of The Woosters.”

By Jeeves (1 May 1996 to 12 February 1997; 28 October 2001 to 30 December 2001, 73 performances)—A more successful complete rewrite of the earlier version, opened in London (with Malcolm Sinclair as Jeeves, and Steven Pacey as Bertie), and premiered in the U.S. in November 1996 (with Richard Kline as Jeeves, and John Scherer as Bertie). It was produced again in 2001 on Broadway (with Martin Jarvis as Jeeves, and Scherer as Bertie), with one recorded performance released as a video film and aired on TV.

Right Ho Jeeves - BBC Radio


What Ho, Jeeves! (1972 to 1981)—A popular BBC Radio 4 series adapting various Jeeves stories (with Michael Hordern as Jeeves, and Richard Briers as Bertie).

The Code of the Woosters (2006)—A BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of The Code of the Woosters (with Andrew Sachs as Jeeves, and Marcus Brigstocke as Bertie).


What Ho - Gods of the abyss
Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill: “What Ho, Gods of the Abyss!”

In Alan Moore’s comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, Jeeves and Bertie appear in the segment “What Ho, Gods of the Abyss?” in which elements of Wodehouse are mixed with H.P. Lovecraft. Bertie recounts the story of the arrival of Mi-Go to Brinkley court and the possession of Aunt Dahlia by Cthulhu. Jeeves once again saves the day and drives off the Lovecraftian menaces.

pgw logo


The plaque, for P G Wodehouse, is fixed to a house on the north west side of Walton Street opposite St Saviour’s church.

1974: Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) at the age of 93

2000: The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize was established


Hoffman, Beth: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (2010)

This book is a prime example of why I prefer to read books by English writers in English. The Norwegian translator just hasn’t gotten the nuances of the English language. All I have to do is translate back to English, and I discover that the author’s meaning was completely different from the Norwegian translation. I’m going to see if I can get this book in the original language.


All complaints aside, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is an excellent example of what happens to a child who experiences many years of neglect. CeeCee is a mess by the time her mother is killed while having a psychotic episode. A crazy mom along with an absent dad just doesn’t make for a happy life at 12 years old. Luckily, her neighbor, a lovely Mrs. Odell, was a safe harbour for CeeCee. That and CeeCee’s books made quite a difference to her own sanity, because having a crazy psychotic mom is not something that generally endears people to you.

Fortunately, CeeCee’s great-aunt Tootie steps in and brings CeeCee into her home. This saves CeeCee. Her recovery takes time and some wounds hurt longer than others. But, like Fannie Flag’s books, the ending is happy for CeeCee.

What I really liked about this book is that it shows that it really matters what you do. Tootie could have stayed away and let CeeCee end up in whatever arrangement her dysfunctional dad could have come up with. But she didn’t, and that made all the difference. Tootie wasn’t alone in all of this. Her sister, maid and friends all accepted CeeCee’s presence. That made it easier when CeeCee met the inevitable bumpy people in her road.

I know someone like grand-aunt Tootie. When it was needed, she stepped in and saved two children from a difficult life. It hasn’t been easy, but it has certainly made a difference. This is one of my heroes. Knowing a real life example of CeeCee’s experience, makes the story believable and wonderful to read.

Ragde, Anne B.: Family Neshov

The story about the Neshov family consists of three books. The first one “Berlin Poplars” (Berlinerpoplene) is found in English. The link is to Amazon UK. I haven’t been able to find book no. 2 “Eremittkrepsene” (Hermit Crabs) in English, so that review will be in Norwegian (see below). I haven’t read book no. 3, so nothing on that. The closest thing to a website on Ragde was her publisher’s. I’ve discovered that not all authors find it necessary to have a website or blog (annoying).

GODT SETT: «Berlinerpoplene» ble sett av over 800 000 i går.

The characters from the television series – Berlin Poplars (Berlinerpoplene) –

These books are the Neshov family’s history. While there are humorous parties, happiness is not the larger part of the books. For the main part the story is about the present, but we get a look at some of the history of the family as well. In “Poplars” the main characters are Tor Neshov, owner of family farm; Margido Neshov, undertaker; and the youngest brother Erlend, decorator. In addition we get to meet Tor’s daughter, Torunn, in part 2.

In part one of the book, we meet all three brothers. We see their lives and loves and worries. Tor is the oldest son. He lives on the farm with his parents, Anna and his father. They struggle to keep the farm going, not to mention keep their relationship sane. Margido is beginning to find his career as an undertaker a challenge. Some of the situations that he is thrown into are sad beyond words. While he is financially fairly well off, his emotional life has taken a beating. The youngest brother, Erlend, lives in Copehagen with his partner Krumme. Erlend decorates shopping windows and is passionate about crystal. The brothers have not met each other in years. Toward the end of part one their mother, Anna, becomes ill and all three sons are asked to come home. In part two Turid appears. She is the daughter of Tor but has only had sporadic contact with him. Her appearance in the lives of the brothers and their mother opens history to the reader and we get to see how the death of a mother can tear people apart. Secrets are told and not all of them are pleasant.

The ending is sudden, but appropriate. I really liked the Norwegian version. If the English one is as good, the reader can expect a moving story about a dysfunctional family.

“Eremittkrepsene” fortsetter der “Berlinerpoplene” slapp. Livene til brødrene og Torunn belyses enda en gang. Da farmoren dør, har plutselig Torunn blitt odelsjente og en del av boken handler om hvordan hun og Tor takler dette. Økonomien er heller laber og da Torunn kommer opp, er det virkelig behov for henne. Margido slites mellom kjærligheten og troen, men oppi det hele forsøker han å hjelpe storebroren. Erlend strever med selvbildet og troen på Krummes kjærlighet. Boka var knallgod og mørk. Det er lyse øyeblikk, men hele tiden drives leseren mot stupet man aner i det fjerne.

Jeg har ikke lest bok nr. 3. Etter å ha gjort ferdig toern følte jeg at jeg var ferdig med familien Neshov.

Harris, Joanne: Coastliners (2003)

Coastliners” is yet another book I’ve read in Norwegian. I prefer reading in English if the author writes in English, but when I receive books as gifts here in Norway, they’re going to be in Norwegian.

“Coastliners” was fun. Harris’ characters are flawed and delightful with all of their imperfections.

On the island of Le Devin, off the British coast, the population is ageing and dwindling. The wealthy live on the la Houssinière side, while the poor live on the les Salants side of the island. As usual, the wealthy hold the power and this has been a source of no little resentment from the poorer population.

Les Salants has a serious problem. Each year the ocean comes closer and closer to the houses that hug the cliffs and dunes. Something must be done to redress the problem, but no one knows quite what to do.

Once Madeleine Prasteu arrives at les Salants, things begin to change. She is trying to recover from the death of her mother and goes back to her childhood vacation spot. After a while Mado becomes involved in the attempt to save les Salants and with the help of mysterious Richard Flynn a secret engineering project is underhand.

Abulhawa, Susan: Mornings in Jenin (2010)

Mornings in Jenin” is a thought-provoking book about the Palestinian side of the Palestine/Israel conflict. It is the author’s debut. I read it in Norwegian, and the Norwegian translation was excellent. It got me thinking about how long conflicts can last, whether there is hope of reconciliation after such a long time and how on earth wounds can possibly heal on either side.

The story begins in the small village of Ein Had in 1941. All is well. The Olive groves have been harvested and the cycle of life continues as always. Seven years later, the Abulheja family are sent to live in a refugee camp in Jenin. Amal, is the main character of the novel. She has a bright and inquisitive mind, always seeking more knowledge. Through her story we discover what happens to her two brothers. Amal’s own journey through life is no less dramatic, taking Amal through childhood, marriage and parenthood.

Nexø, Martin Andersen: Pelle, the Conqueror (1906-10)

“Pelle, the Conqueror” begins on the first of May 1877. Lasse Karlsson from Tommelia in Sweden arrives with his son Pelle at Bornholm in Denmark. They are fleeing poverty and starvation and try to find a decent living. Instead they are treated as indentured servants. As Pelle learns Danish, life becomes easier, but he and his father continue to be treated as outsiders. They refuse to give up their dream of a better life in Denmark.

In one sense you could call “Pelle” auto-biographical. Nexø (1869-1954) knew poverty from the inside. When he was 8, his family moved to Bornholm in hopes of having a safer life. Through this inside experience we get to follow Pelle and his father and friends through tragedy, comedy and success. There is an optimism inherent in these four books (mine is an omnibus) that has us identifying with Pelle’s fight to conquer his life.

Nexø writes beautifully. He brings the reader into the text and gives of himself to us. The journey through Pelle’s life is an amazing journey from a life of terrible circumstances into a life of possibilities. With warmth and generosity my heart was warmed by the excellence of Nexø’s text.

Barnes & Nobles seems to have the best price on this omnibus, consisting of 4 books: Boyhood; Apprenticeship; The Great Struggle; Daybreak.

Project Gutenburg offers Pelle the Conqueror.
Pelle Erobreren is a Danish/Swedish movie from 1987 based on the book
  • Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

Boyne, John: The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas (2006)

The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas is a book that all children ought to read, preferably in company with an adult so they can understand the topic better. The Holocaust has been described and fictionalized time and time again. However, there are some topics that can never be delved into enough.

This novel is about 9-year-old Bruno, a German boy who has no idea of the times he is living in. He just realises that times are changing, and not in a manner that he prefers. Then his father, the handsome Commandant, is commanded to go to a dreadful place with his family. Bruno is struggling to understand why Out-With has a fenced-in area where there are many people walking around in striped pyjamas. On his side of the fence people are dressed in uniform or regular clothing.

One day, while exploring along the fence, Bruno meets a friend – Shmuel. He is thinner than Bruno but that is the only difference Bruno can see. Bruno understands enough that he keeps the friendship secret, but has no understanding of what is going on.

The ending was perfect and the last words of the author were: “Of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.” Sadly humans have not learned and we and them thinking continues.

Winner of the:

  • Irish Book Award Children’s Book of the Year
  • Irish Book Award People’s Choice Book of the Year
  • Bisto Book of the Year
  • Que Leer Award Best International Novel of the Year (Spain)
  • Orange Prize Readers Group Book of the Year

Nominated for the:

  • British Book Award
  • Border’s New Voices Award
  • Ottaker’s Children’s Book Prize
  • Paolo Ungari Literary Award (Italy)
  • Irish Book Award – Irish Novel of the Year Award
  • Leeds Book Award
  • North-East Book Award
  • Berkshire Book Award
  • Sheffield Book Award
  • Lancashire Book Award
  • Prix Farniente (Belgium)
  • Flemish Young Readers Award
  • Independent Booksellers Book of the Year
  • Deutschen Jugend Literatur Preis (Germany)

2008 filmadaptation by Mark Herman

The movie has won several awards