My Classics Spin: Three Men in a Boat

4921The 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.

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16 comments

  1. I read this one about 30 years ago and I did laugh quite a lot, then went on to read Three men on the Bummel, which wasn’t quite so funny. I agree about recognising the characters, I suppose humans don’t really change that much.

  2. This book doesn’t come up in my agenda for quite some time, but I have been looking forward to it ever since reading Jerome’s (or Mr. Jerome’s if you are not on first name basis like me) short story collection: The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow.

    And now, due to your review, I am even for anxious to read it.

    My review of Idle Thoughts: http://100greatestnovelsofalltimequest.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-idle-thoughts-of-idle-fellow-by.html

  3. Great review, sparks my interest in the book!
    I never read ‘humorous books’ ….perhaps I should plan a few in 2016 and create my own
    “Le Rire” – challenge!

    • A “Le Rire” challenge would be fun, and hopefully funny, too. I’d be interested to see what books you would come up with. Humor is such a subjective thing, so I always find it to be a challenge to find something that might be universally considered funny.

  4. Hmmmm… I’ve never heard of this one! I also spend quite a lot of time with a severe hypochrondriac (whose condition isn’t at all funny to me). I’ll admit I have some of those tendencies myself. I might give this book a try.

    • With all the medical information readily available these days, I think it’s hard *not* to get a little paranoid at times. But when people dread asking “How are you?”, then there might be a little problem. 🙂

  5. I’m glad you gave this novel a second chance – timing is everything. I recall reading it many, many years ago. Most of the details have slipped from my memory, but I remember enjoying it very much. It’s nice to be reminded of it here.

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