Category: Jerome K. Jerome

book review – Three Men in a Boat


This is a pleasant book by Jerome K. Jerome to read but one that is a bit like a museum piece, a window into a world gone by. The Thames is still there and people still lark about on it in boats but the manners and behaviour of the people in this book have long since been eclipsed by a society populated with people who simply do not care about their environment.

The anecdotes are the sort that you aged uncle might share with you as he prepares for a snooze after a heavy Christmas lunch and the outcome of this book is similar. This is a pleasant experience but you are not going to be asked major questions as a reader, not going to be left dwelling on the content and mulling it over. That is not to say it is a waste of time but it is a bit like a hot bath at the end of a cold trudge home through the misty rain and should be seen as such.

Even as Jerome is describing the trip down the Thames with his two companions and his rather aggressive dog Jerome gets lost in the past. The banks of the river are described in terms of what happened there with Kings and Queens and the years of the Tudors rather than what is going on now. It is almost as if he realises, and the steam launches are a symbol of this, that the very journey he is describing is also a historical act.

The humour is pleasant and there are moments when each character gets a chance to have a comic moment with the dog also getting more than his fair share of the spotlight. Harris getting drunk and fighting with swans, George being the one to tempt them to throw in the towel and Jerome quite happy to share previous experiences of mishaps on the water.

Perhaps one of the reasons why this is seen as a classic is because it is a view of the world that is forever captured in print. A time when people actually cared for each other and enjoyed their environment without feeling the need to spray can it, burn it or leave rubbish all over it.

A pleasant read that does not demand too much of the reader. It deserves to be read because it is referred to so much by so many people but my suspicion is that it will not be a book you will return to that often.

Version read – Penguin paperback

book of books – Three Men in a Boat

This is a pleasant book by Jerome K. Jerome to read but one that is a bit like a museum piece, a window into a world gone by. The Thames is still there and people still lark about on it in boats but the manners and behaviour of the people in this book have long since been eclipsed by a society populated with people who simply do not care about their environment.

The anecdotes are the sort that you aged uncle might share with you as he prepares for a snooze after a heavy Christmas lunch and the outcome of this book is similar. This is a pleasant experience but you are not going to be asked major questions as a reader, not going to be left dwelling on the content and mulling it over. That is not to say it is a waste of time but it is a bit like a hot bath at the end of a cold trudge home through the misty rain and should be seen as such.

Even as Jerome is describing the trip down the Thames with his two companions and his rather aggressive dog Jerome gets lost in the past. The banks of the river are described in terms of what happened there with Kings and Queens and the years of the Tudors rather than what is going on now. It is almost as if he realises, and the steam launches are a symbol of this, that the very journey he is describing is also a historical act.

The humour is pleasant and there are moments when each character gets a chance to have a comic moment with the dog also getting more than his fair share of the spotlight. Harris getting drunk and fighting with swans, George being the one to tempt them to throw in the towel and Jerome quite happy to share previous experiences of mishaps on the water.

Perhaps one of the reasons why this is seen as a classic is because it is a view of the world that is forever captured in print. A time when people actually cared for each other and enjoyed their environment without feeling the need to spray can it, burn it or leave rubbish all over it.

A pleasant read that does not demand too much of the reader. It deserves to be read because it is referred to so much by so many people but my suspicion is that it will not be a book you will return to that often.

Version read – Penguin paperback

book review – Three Men in a Boat


This is a pleasant book by Jerome K. Jerome to read but one that is a bit like a museum piece, a window into a world gone by. The Thames is still there and people still lark about on it in boats but the manners and behaviour of the people in this book have long since been eclipsed by a society populated with people who simply do not care about their environment.

The anecdotes are the sort that you aged uncle might share with you as he prepares for a snooze after a heavy Christmas lunch and the outcome of this book is similar. This is a pleasant experience but you are not going to be asked major questions as a reader, not going to be left dwelling on the content and mulling it over. That is not to say it is a waste of time but it is a bit like a hot bath at the end of a cold trudge home through the misty rain and should be seen as such.

Even as Jerome is describing the trip down the Thames with his two companions and his rather aggressive dog Jerome gets lost in the past. The banks of the river are described in terms of what happened there with Kings and Queens and the years of the Tudors rather than what is going on now. It is almost as if he realises, and the steam launches are a symbol of this, that the very journey he is describing is also a historical act.

The humour is pleasant and there are moments when each character gets a chance to have a comic moment with the dog also getting more than his fair share of the spotlight. Harris getting drunk and fighting with swans, George being the one to tempt them to throw in the towel and Jerome quite happy to share previous experiences of mishaps on the water.

Perhaps one of the reasons why this is seen as a classic is because it is a view of the world that is forever captured in print. A time when people actually cared for each other and enjoyed their environment without feeling the need to spray can it, burn it or leave rubbish all over it.

A pleasant read that does not demand too much of the reader. It deserves to be read because it is referred to so much by so many people but my suspicion is that it will not be a book you will return to that often.

Version read – Penguin paperback

book review – Three Men in a Boat


This is a pleasant book by Jerome K. Jerome to read but one that is a bit like a museum piece, a window into a world gone by. The Thames is still there and people still lark about on it in boats but the manners and behaviour of the people in this book have long since been eclipsed by a society populated with people who simply do not care about their environment.

The anecdotes are the sort that you aged uncle might share with you as he prepares for a snooze after a heavy Christmas lunch and the outcome of this book is similar. This is a pleasant experience but you are not going to be asked major questions as a reader, not going to be left dwelling on the content and mulling it over. That is not to say it is a waste of time but it is a bit like a hot bath at the end of a cold trudge home through the misty rain and should be seen as such.

Even as Jerome is describing the trip down the Thames with his two companions and his rather aggressive dog Jerome gets lost in the past. The banks of the river are described in terms of what happened there with Kings and Queens and the years of the Tudors rather than what is going on now. It is almost as if he realises, and the steam launches are a symbol of this, that the very journey he is describing is also a historical act.

The humour is pleasant and there are moments when each character gets a chance to have a comic moment with the dog also getting more than his fair share of the spotlight. Harris getting drunk and fighting with swans, George being the one to tempt them to throw in the towel and Jerome quite happy to share previous experiences of mishaps on the water.

Perhaps one of the reasons why this is seen as a classic is because it is a view of the world that is forever captured in print. A time when people actually cared for each other and enjoyed their environment without feeling the need to spray can it, burn it or leave rubbish all over it.

A pleasant read that does not demand too much of the reader. It deserves to be read because it is referred to so much by so many people but my suspicion is that it will not be a book you will return to that often.

Version read – Penguin paperback

Three Men in a Boat – post III

The book comes to an end and while it has been enjoyable it has not aged that well. It is more Last of the Summer Wine than Saturday Night Live and although the humour is gentle it is perhaps too of its time. That is not to say it is a failing but it doesn’t quite live up to the billing on the dust jacket.

Bullet points between pages 150 – 185

* Throughout there is a potted history being given of the places that Kings fought, were buried and had an influence but it is told in a 1066 and All That type way with the emphasis very much on the personal and quirky side of history

* Having moaned earlier about steam launches when they get offered a lift by one Jerome moans a great deal about the slowness of the rowers on the river and even comments that they have to shout and blow the whistle to get any movement

* No love is lost for Reading, which is described as a dirty town that fouls the water, and they seem relieved when they past it and near the end of the Thames journey getting ready to head home but as they turn around from Oxford the weather worsens

* After one night in the rain, with the food ruined and morale getting worse they head through the drizzle to Pangbourne and after a brief discussion abandon the boat and head to the station to get a train back to London

* Back in civilisation they eat to their hearts content and raise their glasses to ‘Three men no longer in a boat’ a toast that even the dog joins in with

A review will follow shortly…

Three Men in a Boat – post III

The book comes to an end and while it has been enjoyable it has not aged that well. It is more Last of the Summer Wine than Saturday Night Live and although the humour is gentle it is perhaps too of its time. That is not to say it is a failing but it doesn’t quite live up to the billing on the dust jacket.

Bullet points between pages 150 – 185

* Throughout there is a potted history being given of the places that Kings fought, were buried and had an influence but it is told in a 1066 and All That type way with the emphasis very much on the personal and quirky side of history

* Having moaned earlier about steam launches when they get offered a lift by one Jerome moans a great deal about the slowness of the rowers on the river and even comments that they have to shout and blow the whistle to get any movement

* No love is lost for Reading, which is described as a dirty town that fouls the water, and they seem relieved when they past it and near the end of the Thames journey getting ready to head home but as they turn around from Oxford the weather worsens

* After one night in the rain, with the food ruined and morale getting worse they head through the drizzle to Pangbourne and after a brief discussion abandon the boat and head to the station to get a train back to London

* Back in civilisation they eat to their hearts content and raise their glasses to ‘Three men no longer in a boat’ a toast that even the dog joins in with

A review will follow shortly…

Three Men in a Boat – post II

What can go wrong starts to go wrong but the emerging character here is Montmorency the dog who manages to have a run in with a cat as well as the kettle and come off worse in both cases.

Bullet points between pages 76 – 150

* The three boaters are travelling up the Thames recalling the various experiences they have had and they seem to range from having a bad experience learning to row as well as running into problems with steam boats

* As part of the revenge process they deliberately block the steamboats that have come up for an event in Henley and manage to infuriate most of the river traffic by pretending not to notice they are getting in the way

* There are some moments that get you chuckling as Jerome gets George into hysterics as he drops his shirt into the river only to then be incoherent with laughter himself after realising it’s George’s shirt

* Then they pop out leaving Harris in charge of the boat and when he crosses the river to pick them up he is clearly worse for wear and mumbling about fending off a flock of swans before slipping back into his stupor

* All the way up the Thames Jerome shares not only some of the history of the places on the way but his opinions on some of the places on the route describing Reading as ugly and Marlow as one of the better places to stop en route

The entire book has a feeling, humour aside, of describing a Britain that has largely disappeared. Messing about on the river in a very innocent way with hampers and boaters is the stuff of a more innocent age. The humour has lasted but sadly much of the world Jerome describes has gone and you are reminded of it very much when one villager on the Thames advises them to drink the river water, as he has done for 15 years. They are about to when a dead dog drifts by. Now of course you would be mad to even consider sipping the stuff unfiltered and treated.

More tomorrow…