The last Classics Club Spin selected Three Men in a Boat for me. It was also my choice for the funny classic category of the Back to the Classics challenge. I started reading the book a while ago, but quickly put it away. I didn’t find the beginning of Three Men very funny, as I spend my workdays in close proximity to a hypochondriac. Thankfully, Madame Bibilophile wrote about the book, and particularly the dog Montmorency, recently, and that had me giving the book a second chance. I’m glad I did, because I ended up laughing frequently. But I don’t have all that much else to say about it.
It is a rather rambling account of three men who decide to take a 2-week boating holiday on the Thames to help them recuperate from their taxing daily routine. Put three lazy people who fancy themselves sick with every illness known to man (except housemaid’s knee) into a situation that requires planning and physical exertion, and you know you are in for plenty of funny situations. Top that with a dog who likes to get into trouble, and you have the perfect book to read right before going to sleep: it makes you laugh, but it doesn’t require you to think.
What I find almost the funniest is that 125 years after the book was written, the characters are still so very easy to recognize. I bet most of us today know someone who fits the description of the people in this book.