Three Men in a Boat

Thoughts tmiabbyjkj Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, ebook/orig 1889, 256 pages

FITS the Classics Challenge AND the What’s In a Name Challenge – not sure yet where it will fall.

If one were to ask me why I read this book, I could list many  a reason. One, it’s got BOAT in the title. I like boats.

It fits my classic challenge – not sure yet which category but maybe the 19th century one? It is a HUMOR book – I don’t read much in this genre, but what’s not to like when a book can make you laugh? But the main reason is probably because this book is what Connie Willis based her (or references? or __?…  not sure exactly because I have yet to read) book title To Say Nothing of the Dog. I like dogs. I want to read a Willis book. She has been on my “Author I Must Get To” list for years now. Maybe this will be THE YEAR.

I must say, the dog in Three Men in a Boat is terrific. A true dog’s dog.

Oh, and I did laugh! often, actually. tmiab4

I should change this post to be of the interview style. I have lots of questions.

Why did I read this book now? THAT is the hardest question. It just came to be. I actually downloaded the free ebook version many months ago and something conspired in the cosmos that I should read it in March of 2014.

What did I think of the book? I liked it. However, it got old. I needed to be way shorter. I guess I can be that person who appreciates the non-plot meandering wayward adventure mishap and funny situation comedy feel of this; just a few guys taking a boat trip together. It’s fun, it’s funny, but it gets old and I couldn’t wait for it to end. I was about a third of the way through when THAT FEELING came up. tmiab3

What IS “THAT FEELING”? When I start wondering about a book. Am I getting it? Is it going to wrap up soon? Can we get a few more passages devoted to the dog?

What happens when you get THAT FEELING? Well, this is when I start looking for other reviews of the book, either from Fyrefly’s google search of book blogger reviews or on goodreads.com. I then check to see how my friends rated it and then I read through some reviews. If it is a print book, this is when I allow myself to read the blurb on the back of the book or inside flap or – kiss of death, usually – I read the… INTRODUCTION.

And then what happens?  I either give up or I keep going. Oftentimes, neither of these choices ends up in a higher rating than a THREE slicer or star.

How will you rate this one?  I give it THREE SLICES of meat pie. The book did have a plethora of pie references. Any book that allows me to use the word ‘plethora’ in a review also earns it high marks. In fact, for that, it might be a 4 slicer! LOTS of pie. Most of them meat pies which is typical of British food fare. Nothing wrong with that.

But wait! What’s it about? I think I said that already, didn’t I?  It’s about three guys and a dog that take a vacation trip on a boat on the Thames River. It’s British. It’s FULL of English history – which I admit was kind of cool. It really could be described as a travel book – if you were able to cruise the Thames in the late 19th century. Many of the adventures could still happen today though, I suppose – who hates to pack for a trip, am I right?

Would you recommend this book? Actually, I can give this question a resounding YES. If you love British humour, read this. If you want to read the Connie Willis book with me as a read-along, yes. If you are trying to read all the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, then this makes the list and I bet there are worse (ie, more difficult) books on that list. If you like British history, and probably? especially? British literature, I bet this should be on a required reading list somewhere. If the author’s name, Jerome K. Jerome, appeals to you, you might want to read this book. His name appeals to me. I knew a girl in High School whose first name was also her last name and I won’t tell you what it was but it was kind of like Mary Mary, but it wasn’t Mary. I wouldn’t want her to google herself and find that I talked about her!

tmiab2

Do you have anything else to add? Yes, I do. I read on and will admit I skimmed to, a passage about a woman who suffered. A comment on a goodreads review, mentioned that Jerome had biting commentary to provide about society and that it was highlighted with this passage. The woman had found herself “in trouble” and then being scorned and finding it tremendously difficult to support herself and her child given the times, that society’s scorn, etc, she drowned herself in the river. It was poignant.

Much of the writing, the descriptions, the British humor (of course) proves Jerome’s skill as a writer. I don’t and won’t deny him that. Though I failed to find the full tasting of this work to be a total pleasure, I am very glad to have read it and do think I will think often upon it. That is high praise of the best reader’s kind. Books can’t all hit the bells on all levels  at all times for all moods but they can be appreciated for it all anyway. I love this kind of books – the ones that make me think and feel. Golly, I might have to bump it up to a four.

“Supper was not a success. Cold veal pie, when you don’t feel hungry, is apt to cloy. I felt I wanted whitebait and a cutlet; Harris babbled of soles and white-sauce, and passed the remains of his pie to Montmorency, who declined it, and apparently insulted by the offer, went and sat over at the other end of the boat by himself.”  p.187

OK, who read all the way to —> here?? <– and might want to join me for a readalong of To Say Nothing of the Dog?  Or Doomsday? I so want to read that one, too!!!  Sigh….

If you have read Willis and you ‘know’ me, do you think I will like her books?

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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12 Responses to “Three Men in a Boat”


  1. 1 Word Lily April 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I think I felt about this one about like you did! I read it ages ago, because it was on a list of funny books, and hey, I like to laugh. Which I did, but it got a little repetitive and redundant (heh). I’ve wanted to read Willis, too, but haven’t yet.

  2. 3 Jeanne April 6, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I’m not a big fan of Willis, myself. I loved Three Men in a Boat as an audiobook. We played it on a road trip, and all four of us were highly entertained, and sorry when it ended.

  3. 5 aartichapati April 6, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I thought this was a great fun book, too. It took me a while to realize one of the characters was a dog ;)

    I agree it can get old. In that way, I think Jerome is like Wodehouse. I think Wodehouse is hilarious, but his characters are not particularly memorable to me, and they all fade together except for Bertie and Wooster, and they only stand out because they are in so many. But still fun to read!

    • 6 Care April 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Uh oh. I have a confession. I read a Wodehouse bio before I every read (or viewed) any Wodehouse writings/creations. And I can only take a little of him. Don’t think I finished the first book I tried. First third was awesome! Then it was … not. Maybe I’m just a British-humour-in-short-bursts kind of gal.

  4. 7 Jenny @ Reading the End April 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    K = Klapka. Of all things. I know this because Jerome K Jerome is my lifetime permanent forever enemy on account of that he shit-talked Oscar Wilde at a sensitive time, so Jerome Klapka Jerome is the name I have inscribed on a large number of curse tablets that I’ve stabbed with nails and thrown down wells.

    I’m not sure you’d dig Connie Willis. She can be kind of all over the place.

  5. 9 Kailana April 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I had this out from the library a couple times, but haven’t read it yet. I have read Willis a couple times, but I don’t love her in quite the way that other people do so I am not sure if I am the one to ask about her.

  6. 10 Care April 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    So far, I’m not sensing much enthusiasm for Willis. Wonder why I thought I needed to read something. Maybe one of her books is about time travel? and who can’t like a title with the word DOG in it?

  7. 11 dopeinapoke April 14, 2014 at 12:42 am

    I read Doomsday and actually liked it…well, once the main character got spit back in time and the plague hit. Good times! You just gotta stick with it for a bit.


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