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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 June 2013
If you like Withnail and I, then you'll just love this. It's utterly timeless; anyone who's tried to put up a tent (for example) will recognise it instantly. It really is laugh-out-loud funny. The language is beautiful and it's incredibly well-written. I cannot recommend it enough.

If you don't love this book, and don't weep laughing whilst reading it, then there's something wrong with you.
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on 30 May 2014
If I am feeling blue then reading Three Men in a Boat is guaranteed to cheer me up! It is so funny, even over 100 years later, and I love it to pieces. The humour is something that everyone can relate to as it is still the humour of today - the main character tells the story of how he and his 2 friends and the dog take a river trip, and he relates all the adventures that happen on the trip. The dog provides a lot of entertainment, as do the men, who are not without their faults. There are hilarious descriptions we can all relate to; I particularly like the bit where they are packing and things won't fit in the case. Then there are tales of how they try to get back to their camp in the dark, and various scrapes along the way. It's not a long book but it does have a lot of laughs.
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on 23 August 2014
I first read this when I was 17- and almost got kicked out of the school library for making those 'trying-not-to-laugh-and-end-up-snorting-instead' noises.

30 years on- and here I am with a shiny new toy (my Kindle Fire) and browsing which freebie books I can pop on it (cheapskate that I am)...and what do I see but Three Men in a Boat. Curiosity kicks in and I decide to see if it's anywhere near as amusing as I seem to remember, or if that's just nostalgia telling embellishing. It's been known to do that to me before.

Deciding I have nothing to lose (because, y'know, cheapskate...) I download and begin to read.

Oh dear heaven!

I not only produced the same giggle-snort noises of yesteryear- but had to give up reading it it in the evening because I was literally crying with laughter and was in danger of disturbing everyone.

Yes, it's an easy read (and what's wrong with that?) and yes, if a reader can't get it into their head that it isn't a bunch of 21st century guys with modern thoughts, attitudes and ways of dress/ speech etc- but Victorian 'fellows' then they'll probably not 'get it'. Sadly that's their loss. IT's the sheer beauty of the language and period that make it so darn funny. There are some passages which meander off into a bit of a history lesson now and then and may seem a little out of place with the humourous tone overall- but you can feel Jerome's genuine fondness for his subject and it never hurts to actually pick up a little knowledge here and there, after all.

The only real criticism I have isn't of the book itself- it's the slightly odd formatting. The kindle version lacks the original illustrations but does have random words or word at the beginning of paragraphs and chapters. I rather suspect that these words describe the illustration that should have been there- almost as if someone has removed a picture but left the 'tags' in place....so that you may see 'Dog swimming in water' right at the start of a paragraph about Montmorency (J's dog) being in the river. It made me wonder if the English language was having a funny five minutes before I realised what it probably was- and learned to ignore it after that.

Five stars from me- because if a book by a Victorian chap about other Victorian chaps can make me laugh aloud and have to dry my eyes and wipe my nose whilst doing so, some 125 years later- it's got to be worth a look, hasn't it?
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Firstly, I should point out in all honesty that at times in this free edition some of the paragraphs seem to start out with a couple of words that describe what the paragraph is about. When you start to read a paragraph like this, then just skip to the next word starting with a capital letter, and you will be okay. Apart from this there is no other gripe about this edition, it is all here in its full comic glory.

First published in 1899 this met with bad and indifferent reviews, but the public just couldn't stop buying it. I think most people must be aware of the story but for those who aren't basically it is this. The narrator and two friends, plus a dog decide to take a boating holiday upon the Thames. This is their story, about what happens, and problems that they have; also it is in parts a travelogue, as well as being full of comic asides and anecdotes. Despite its small size there is just so much inside the pages of this.

I first had to read part of this at school, when we were doing anecdotes, but I just had to buy the full book for myself. Since then I have read it countless times, and suggested it to others, and so far I haven't found anyone who doesn't like it. We all love to have a laugh, and you can't go wrong with this book.
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on 11 December 2016
A laugh-out-loud comedy which will have you reading over and over again. I purchased this for the kindle and it downloaded quick and the text was readable.

A truly one of a kind classic loved by everyone.
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on 4 May 2014
Such a wonderful book!! The pages where he describes them putting up a tent-genuinely laughing out loud!! It's funny, but also charming and so many times I could identify exactly with what he was saying.

Very accessible, fun book.
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on 11 February 2015
This is a familiar book to those of us of a certain age. In my case more from the film than from the text.

This reads with quite a modern sense of irony and must have been a real innovation on publication.
The story is slight , the characters are well drawn and the humor gentle. Some of the observations about human nature and manners retain their impact.
I wouldn't call it laugh out loud but it is certainly amusing and is beautifully written. The diversions are mildly irritating but nothing like on the scale of Tristram Shandy.
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on 21 October 2013
A beautiful book, which it have read so many times since I was a boy. Written in a much more genteel and polite time, although sometimes that is not quite obvious. Read it and re-read it. You will never tire.
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on 8 March 2016
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book, aside from the growling concern of the inner child in me at the depressingly dreary-looking image on the cover; I was expecting Wuthering Heights, on water, without any females.

What I got was an enjoyable romp following three close friends as they take a journey much like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, except this is set in England, with older characters, and all of the wonderful grump, mature friendship, and amusing mistakes and accidents that happen when we are brutally honest with ourselves and each other.

Very few books manage to capture the bemusing reality of life in England, during any era, and this book does just that - it is fun, funny, never taking itself seriously, and although there isn't a driving demon, dragon, magic, sword fights, or any maiden to save, this story pulls you along to the very end, making you want the three friends to carry on with their boat journey forever. I wanted a sequel, simply because the characters were so well rounded and well written.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the English sense of humour (see all of the Wilt books, or Monty Python), and understands the very accurate reality of the absurd, especially when it comes to the way English people behave towards each other, and how they deal with every day life's funny twists and quirks.

For anyone who has not visited or lived in England, this is a must read; an insight into the depth of English character, and why the 'stiff upper lip' is actually a sarcastic comment on how soft and gentle most English people truly are.
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on 19 January 2016
Three Men In A Boat is one of my favourite books of all time - I've read and reread it in the region of three hundred times... I recommend the story unreservedly, it's hilarious and several scenes make me laugh out loud every time I read them. So I bought this copy as a Christmas stocking filler for a family member who's not read it. My review is for this specific binding/edition. The book is an over large size - not sure of exact dimensions but nearer A4 than A5 - but the print is tiny... I own in the region of 1000 books and have read many thousands more but have never encountered this print style! So odd And reader-unfriendly I have no idea why the publisher chose this format and just basically totally rubbish as a gift so I bought a different copy to give instead... Be warned!
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