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Three Men in a Boat: The Graphic Novel (Campfire Graphic Novels) Paperback – September 20, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Jerome's classic British comedy is recounted by House's Hugh Laurie in a marvelously entertaining performance that will bring listeners to the banks of the Thames and carry them away into a world where three men and a dog named Montmorency venture from London to Oxford one sunny day. At just two and a half hours, the journey is short but sweet as Laurie captures the essence of Jerome's touching tale. With his classic witty tone, Laurie dives headfirst into each character, offering his own take on each colorful personality. There is a subtle theatrical aspect at work here as Laurie delivers a knockout one-man show that displays his wide-ranging talent. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"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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The author acquired his odd name from his father, who changed his own name from Jerome Clapp to Jerome Clapp Jerome and named his son after himself. At some stage the son changed his middle name to Klapa. The family was impoverished after the father's early death and the son received little education. At various times he worked for the railroad, as an actor, as a school teacher, and as a law clerk. He started writing humorous essays in the early 1880's and had several books of collected essays published. He hit the jackpot when he wrote THREE MEN IN A BOAT which (oddly enough) was actually based on his honeymoon on a small boat on the Thames River.
Either Mrs. Jerome didn't care to be featured in a book or her husband figured that he could get more comic situations out of a stag party. Whatever the reason, the characters are the narrator, his friends Harris and George, and Montmorency - a fox terrier who thinks he's a Great Dane. The three young men are all suffering from a variety of imaginary ailments (Montmorency is in fine fettle) and decide that they will spend their holidays sailing up the Thames.
It's difficult to say why the book is so entertaining, except that the humor is sly and yet very realistic. Although styles in clothing, food, and camping gear have changed dramatically, three guys setting out on such a trip today would have pretty much the same mix-ups, snafus, and snits as this trio. Human nature hasn't changed. This book was such a hit that the leisure activity of boating on the Thames became wildly popular and has been so ever since. Today, England has restored many of the canals that moved goods in past centuries and boating trips and even living permanently on boats is a huge industry. This author was never able to replicate his success in his later books, but he definitely left his mark. If you haven't read this one, you should.
There is no plot. I resorted to the wikipedia entry to learn a little more about it to try to persist in reading what felt like an extended version of the 3 stooges, but upper class men like the narrator "allergic to work" and silly.
Others in our book group liked it more, especially the descriptions of punting thru the Thames, which they were more familiar than I. It apparently started out as a travel log, but in each paragraph I felt he was setting us up for something to go wrong and then when it did it was "surprise, surprise" and yawn from me.
It almost reads like a movie script for a slapstick comedy, which is just not my taste. The author begins by describing himself as a hypochondriac which made me immediately find him tiresome.
Sorry Jerome, Jerome, RIP. But congratulations on creating a work that is still garnering reviews 100+ years after you wrote it. That is a great accomplishment, even if it is not my personal taste.
Perhaps it appeals more to men. Or if one listens to it as an audiotape narrated in a funny British voice. It's lack of dialogue, character development, and plot basically bored me to the point I could not finish it or read more than a few pages at once without dropping off to sleep. I struggled through as much as I could so I could participate in our book club discussion but it was not a pleasant read for me.
Apparently it was originally published as a serial in a magazine. Like Dickens. Which makes more sense. In small doses it probably is more amusing and maybe with illustrations of the scenery and sight-seeing it describes.