"Three Men In A Boat (Not To Mention The Dog)"

Three Men In A Boat (Not To Mention The Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome

This book is an excellent comedy about three ordinary (and by ordinary I mean somewhat full of themselves and a bit silly) young men who decide they need a vacation. They rent a boat, pack up clothes, food, dog and other necessities and head out for an adventure on the Thames. It was written over a hundred years ago so the comedy is the old-fashioned kind: clean, dry,fun and funny. They will have you smiling over the predicaments they get themselves into even if you aren't in the mood for humor.

Everything that could go wrong does, but it's their clumsy and oh so human response to their difficulties that is so very funny. Jerome's wordy and witty view of things allows him to be sarcastic in such an innocent way that you could almost be convinced of his innocence.

My copy of the book also contains another of his stories: "Three Men On A Bummel", a bummel being a journey of some sort by land. I'm saving it for sometime when I need something entertaining as a break from more serious reading.

When I was deciding whether to read it or not, I came across a review that said it was "the funniest book ever written". I'm terribly skeptical about "funny" books, funny anything really. Comedy in movies and tv shows rarely ever make me laugh. I want to find them funny. I wish I could enjoy modern comedy more; for one thing laughter is a great way to reduce the stress of daily living and laughing together strengthens relationships. Someone once said "the shortest distance between two people is laughter". I believe that and have remembered those words just in time in several instances where tempers were flaring. Laughter makes all the difference and it frustrates me that I don't laugh more.

It was a relief to find Three Men In A Boat truly funny. Maybe there's hope for me yet. I'd like to find more books like this so, if you can recommend any to me, please leave a comment and tell me about the books you found funny.

I wanted to quote a few lines to give you an idea what the writing is like, but this author's comedic style is not pithy one-liners. His genius is in telling stories that are written tongue-in-cheek in their entirety. Most of those stories would require long quotes of several paragraphs. So, I'll just leave you with a couple of lines about the dog, Montmorency.

"I do not blame the dog (contenting myself as a rule with merely clouting his head or throwing stones at him) because I take it that it is his nature. Fox terriers are born with about 4 times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox-terrier nature."

I recommend this book to everyone. It's funny, smart and entertaining, and well worth your time.


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