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I was given a copy of this book about 12 years ago. It has turned out to be one the best gifts I've ever received. Jerome's witty ramblings are the funniest I've ever read. Mark Twain, who I also love to read, comes close to Jerome's style but, in my opinion, is a poor second. Jerome finds humor in the commonplace and the every day occurrences which all of us, even a good 100 years later, can identify with. Starting with his self-diagnosis of every ailment, excepting house-maid's knee, to his singular insights into his friends, self, and surroundings; I never tire of rereading this book. It becomes clear quickly that the dog, Montmorency, is the only one with any sense. Three Men and a Boat always cheers me after a cold, bleak winter. It's the best Spring tonic--I highly recommend an annual dose. I shop now for gifts to give to friends so they can share my enjoyment in this wonderfully humorous and offbeat book. Read, enjoy, and laugh often.
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.Read more ›
I want to be clear; this is specifically for the Kindle edition of this book. The actual content, the book itself, would get five stars. It's a great book, huge fun to read, shockingly undated given its age, and I could not have asked for more entertainment once I read it.
I did not, however, manage to finish the book in this Kindle edition. This is perhaps the 25th book or so I have read in this format, and I have grown sadly used to the number of typographical errors and layout problems that lace the majority of the works, but this one I couldn't get through. There are hard returns throughout the book that presumably mark the end of the original line in the text. Unfortunately, they do not correspond to the end of the lines on the Kindle's screen, regardless of the text size, so literally every other line on the screen is one two three words long. It was too disconcerting to get used to, and finally I went through the trouble of downloading a public domain copy from Gutenberg and transferring that over to my Kindle.
Maybe I am oversensitive to this problem, but do yourself a favor and look at the sample of the book before you purchase it. If I had done so I never would have bought it, regardless of the price. 5 stars for the content; 1 star for the edition.
This has to be one of the funniest books ever written beginning with the opening chapter where the narrator reads a medical book and decides he has every disease in the book. From there, he and his two best friends decide to get away from it all with a boat trip up the Thames River -- and that's the book. It's full of one hilarious episode after another with little side tidbits on the historical places they pass on the Thames. Those few who have found the book dull need to understand that the story is written at the pace of a boat trip and not a television sitcom. It's any vacation where everything goes hilariously wrong and if for once the tent doesn't fall down in a pouring rain or the boat manages to not run into another boat, the narrator remembers another trip and tells the story of carrying an incredibly smelly cheese home--Warning don't read that chapter in public. People will wonder why you're rolling on the ground laughing hysterically. There's also a dog who's idea of being helpful is bringing a dead rat to add to the stew. The only weakness of the book is that I'd like to have seen much more of the dog. On the serious side, Three Men in a Boat proves that humor based on human nature is timeless. Also on the serious side, if you want a good look at how people lived in 1890, this book actually gives a vivid picture, including the nostalgia that the narrator feels for "the good old days". He finds life in 1890 too fast paced and with too many inventions coming on too fast. It makes you wonder at what point people will look back to 2001 as "the good old days".
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