Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome is a classic English Novel published in 1889 that gives a detailed journey of three Englishmen and a dog on the river Thames. The author has done a remarkable job by adding hilarious stories in between that adds to the extra fun to the whole story. I do not have the printed version of this book. I read the e-book from the iBook classic novel collection.
Name of the Book: Three Men In A Boat
Name of the Author: Jerome K. Jerome
Year of Publication: 1889
Number of Pages: 185
Summary From Goodreads
A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat includes an introduction and notes by Jeremy Lewis in Penguin Classics.
Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a ‘T’. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks – not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.’s small fox-terrier Montmorency. Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and, with its benign escapism, authorial discursions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian ‘clerking classes’, it hilariously captured the spirit of its age.
In his introduction, Jeremy Lewis examines Jerome K. Jerome’s life and times, and the changing world of Victorian England he depicts – from the rise of a new mass-culture of tabloids and bestselling novels to crazes for daytripping and bicycling.
To begin with, there are three men who plan to go for a vacation with a dog, and after a great deal of discussion they chose to go for a boat vacation. The three men are George, Harris, and Jerome. The dog is named as Montmorency. As we can relate from the publishing date, this book shows the England that was in 19th century.
The story begins with three men discussing about their illness that they thought they are suffering from but in reality they are not. Since, it was in 19th century, they consulted medical books to refer their symptoms while we today rely on the “Google Doctor”.
I read the prescription. It ran: 5″1 lb. beefsteak, with 1 pt. bitter beer every 6 hours. 1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night. And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.”Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
So, as a matter of fact Jerome was not ill but he made an assumption that he is ill by matching his symptoms to those mentioned in the medical book. Today, we also do the same. Before consulting a real physician, we refer to internet (The Goggle Doctor), match our symptoms and feel that we are suffering from a chronic disease.
You know, it often is so – those simple, old-fashioned remedies are sometimes more efficacious than all the dispensary stuff.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
What it was that was actually the matter with us, we none of us could be sure of; but the unanimous opinion was that it – whatever it was – had been brought on by overwork. “What we want is rest,” said Harris. “Rest and a complete change,” said George. “The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.”Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
As I said earlier, they were not suffering from any disease. they made a plan to have some change in their daily lives, go to some place, and have fun. Lately, they decided for a boat vacation.
The author puts forward a humorous the story of “Uncle Podger” who makes everyone work, just give orders to his children, and wife, and then complain as to how hardworking he is by literally doing nothing.
The most inspiring part is when they decide to have less items on the boat to keep the boat light. We can relate it to our lives too.
Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
Then there is another story of a “Jerome’s friend” who bought cheeses at Liverpool and how Jerome brought those cheeses to his friend’s house, and the whole scenario turns out to be funny indeed.
The most funny part is their packing of stuff for the vacation. We can relate to the packing we do for our vacation too. How Jerome forgets where he kept his toothbrush, whether he kept the boots or not, and then repacks every thing and how they wake up late in the morning and there is a chaos in the scene are all relatable and hilarious.
There is nothing does irritate me more than seeing other people sitting about doing nothing when I’m working.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
Every thing that happens in the story looks real. The train incidence is humorous as to how they caught their train and reached Kingston. The sentences from the book that were true to the world even today goes as follows:
Married men have wives, and don’t seem to want them; and young single fellows cry out that they can’t get them. Poor people who can hardly keep themselves have eight hearty children. Rich old couples, with no one to leave their money to, die childless.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
We are creatures of the sun, we men and women. We love light and life. That is why we crowd into the towns and cities, and the country grows more and more deserted every year. In the sunlight – in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us, we like the open hillsides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house. Then we sit and sob, and long for the gas-lit streets, and the sound of human voices, and the answering throb of human life. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness, when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind. There are so many ghosts about, and their silent sighs make us feel so sad. Let us gather together in the great cities, and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets, and shout and sing together, and feel brave.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
Yet again, Jerome comes up with a story of “two ladies on boat” who were not dressed as per the “boating costume” or clothes that are friendly while going to a water picnic. How those girls deal with the water picnic with their laced up and silky dresses is narrated in a funny way. After that comes the story of “tombs” as to how an old man was after Jerome to show the tombs and the memorial windows that many come to see and how Jerome refuses and runs away from that place.
There are many such short stories in this book related to the things that are happening in the story. The story of Harris and his piano is also witty.
How good one feels when one is full – how satisfied with ourselves and with the world! People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained. One feels so forgiving and generous after a substantial and well-digested meal – so noble-minded, so kindly-hearted.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light; and they, when they return, may not speak of it, or tell the mystery they know.Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men In A Boat)
The incidence of Montmorency and the old Tom cat is quick-witted. Their two days stay at Oxford is also amusing where Montmorency had many other dog friends to play with. Their way back home from Oxford is not that pleasant as it started to rain and everything on the boat got wet.
The overall boat journey can be summarized as starting from Waterloo Station to Kingston where they got their boat. They passed through various places like Hampton Court Palace, Magna Carta Island, Monkey Island, etc.
The language of the book is simple and the story is easy to read and understand. The author gives a detailed information about the places he visited while his boat journey, what happened with him, his two friends, and the dog. How they overcome all the pleasant and unpleasant scenarios, enjoyed some while were sad at some point, a mixed up venture on the river and at various stops are amusing.
At last I would like to conclude that the author did a commendable job in putting up the whole story and explained every tit-bits, added other incidences with the boat journey, the stories of George and Henry, etc that added even more wittiness to the whole story. An overall good and fun read.
If you haven’t red this book yet, I would recommend this book to you all. Give it a read, you will definitely like it. Thank you for stopping by and reading this post.