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Jerome K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat (Not to speak of the Dog)

   

I can see the humorous side of things and enjoy the fun when it comes; but look where I will, there seems to me always more sadness than joy in life."
Jerome K. Jerome

The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide,with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers — the jokes seem fresh and witty even today.

The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator J.) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave (who went on to become a senior manager) and Carl Hentschel (the founder of a London printing business, called Harris in the book), with whom he often took boating trips. The dog, Montmorency, is entirely fictional but, "as Jerome admits, developed out of that area of inner consciousness which, in all Englishmen, contains an element of the dog." The trip is a typical boating holiday of the time. This was just after commercial boat traffic on the Upper Thames had died out, replaced by the 1880s craze for boating as a leisure activity.

Because of the overwhelming success of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome later published a sequel, about a cycling tour in Germany, entitled Three Men on the Bummel.

     

    My favourite book

    Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

    Here’s my best book tip (ever). If you for some reason haven’t read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome yet, then it’s really time to do it now. If you have, then it might be time to do it again.
    I got my first copy of this book from my mum when I was about ten years old. By now I’ve read it 30+ times and I kind of know it by heart. It’s not a very long book, yet I never get tired of it. It’s simply the best book I know. - writes Antonia.