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Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog! (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – October 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Popular Classics
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (October 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140621334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140621334
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.3 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"I "highly recommend" Campfire's comics. They do what they are intended to do and do it in a way that excites kids about classic literature."

-- Chris Wilson, The Graphic Classroom (a resource for teachers and librarians)

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7 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

This is a funny book.
This book would be a steal at 10 dollars, and as a free Kindle e-book, it's a must have.
Thomas Hilmersen
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read.
Carl Skutsch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Imagine Bertie Wooster and two of his idiot friends out on a boat... with no Jeeves. That about describes "Three Men in a Boat : To Say Nothing of the Dog," Jerome K. Jerome's enchanting comic novel about three young men (to say nothing of the dog) who discover the "joys" of roughing it.

The three men are George, Harris and the narrator, who are all massive hypochiandriacs -- they find that they have symptoms of every disease in existance (except housemaid's knee). To prop up their failing health, they decide to take a cruise down the Thames in a rented boat, camping and enjoying nature's bounty.

Along with Monty -- an angelic-looking, devilish terrier -- the three friends set off down the river. But they find that not everything is as easy as they expected. They get lost in hedge mazes, end up going downstream without a paddle, encounter monstrous cats and vicious swans, have picnics navigate locks, offend German professors, and generally get into every kind of trouble they possibly can...

Even though it was published more than a century ago, "Three Men in a Boat" remains as freshly humorous as when it was first published. While editor/playwright/author Jerome K. Jerome wrote a lot of other books, this book remains his most famous. And once you've read it, you'll see why.

Jerome's real talent is in finding humor in everyday things, like trying to erect a tent in the woods, getting seasick, or questioning whether it's safe to drink river water. Written in Jerome's dry, goofy prose, these little occurrances become immensely funny. One of the funniest parts of the book is when the boys listen to a fishermen telling of his prowess, only to accidently knock down his record-breaking stuffed fish.... and discover it's made out of plaster. Oops.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on January 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I entered into THREE MEN IN A BOAT with the understanding that it was a laugh riot. At first I thought, yes it is witty in the extreme, but in places it is a tad Victorian cute, the forerunner of today's sitcoms and stand-up comics. The more I got into it, though, the more I appreciated it on many levels. Verdict: It is fresh stuff 115 years later, it is very funny, and it deserves classic, not backlist, status.
THREE MEN IN A BOAT is classified as fiction but not for the usual reasons. Had it been written after 1995, say, it would have probably been called creative nonfiction. What Jerome did was to synthesize many occasions shared with his real life pals into a "travelogue" of a boating trip taken up the Thames, from Kingston into the Reading area. This premise offers up countless occasions for mishaps, which Jerome milks for all they are worth. In those moments in which something is not happening, he tells related stories, or performs a stand-up comic riff. As he and his mates pass landmarks along the river, he offers up historical information, colored of course with his views. Apparently, England lays claim to Elizabeth I being everywhere much as the eastern United States claims Washington slept in every town. It is ironic to read his sighs over modern life: if he only knew that urban sprawl had only begun and weather forecasting has not improved that much in a hundred years. In a positively clairvoyant moment, he presages the Antiques Roadshow mania of "2000 and odd" while speculating if the lowly implements and souvenirs of daily life would become the treasures of the future. The insights into Victorian preoccupations are priceless.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Three Men in a Boat, first published in 1889, tells the story of George, Harris, and J., who, accompanied by Montmorency (a misbehaving dog), take a boating trip up the Thames. Narrated in the first person by J., the novel is hilarious, touching, and occasionally profound. The humor ranges from dry wit to slapstick as J. recounts the trio's hapless efforts to row their way up the river.

Digression follows digression as the story unfolds. Passing Runnymede reminds J. of King John which reminds him of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, which prompts him to complain of the nuisance that young lovers make of themselves, which leads him to imagine coming upon Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn canoodling in a royal garden. During the course of the novel, J. turns his attention to the pleasures of food and idleness, to fish stories, to music and dogs and friendship and dozens of other topics.

Although Three Men in a Boat is a very funny comedy, the novel also offers a glimpse of British history as J. comments upon the various villages and towns they pass on their journey. J. has his philosophical moments, as well; as they pass a monastery, he observes that the monks, vowed to silence and cloistered in their building so that they can hear the voice of God, are unable to hear that voice in the splashing water and in the wind whispering through the river grass. Indeed, some passages of this short novel are so beautifully written that I didn't want the excursion to come to an end.

Three Men in a Boat inspired the equally funny To Say Nothing of the Dog, a time travel story written by Connie Willis. Readers looking for a more modern version of Three Men in a Boat might want to try Willis' novel. I recommend reading them both for an interesting contrast of perspectives on boating the Thames, and for double the laughter.
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