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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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My first recollection of encountering this classic maritime adventure, written by Jerome K Jerome, was in the 70s when I attended a one-man show in which Jeremy Nicholas recounted the story of three men and a dog and their trip up the River Thames. In true tradition the tale was recited, not without error, to a large audience in a comedic style that reminded me of PG Wodehouse, another of my literary heroes.

Jeremy Nicholas's career has been based almost entirely on this one author and he went on to become the President of the Jerome K Jerome Society. I never forgot that performance and it gave me a taste for Jerome K Jerome and his stories.

It was not until three decades later that I encountered this unabridged rendition of this classic story by Martin Jarvis whose name will be instantly familiar to listeners of the 'Just William' and 'Jeeves and Wooster' audiobooks. Martin's comic delivery, animated style and energetic story-telling ability is strongly reminiscent of that of Jeremy Nicholas and for this reason I can heartily recommend this recording.

This recording is, of course, the unabridged version which I much prefer. However, to tell this tale requires 6 CDs and over six-and-a-half hours of listening time. It may be long but it is never boring. It is a complex and steadily evolving adventure story about a boat trip up part of the River Thames. For the most part it is full of humour but it does have its darker moments.

The recording is supplied with a small, 12-page booklet that describes the content of each of the six CDs and also contains a mini biography of Jerome K Jerome and how he came to write Three Men in a Boat.
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on 6 July 2015
I was very surprised to find this book very amusing, from the description of the characters' ailments to their complete incompetence in practical skills. The characters are recognisable as exaggerated versions of people we have met at sometime in our lives. How many times has someone said, Oh I know exactly how to do this e.g. tent up, mend a tyre, etc. and ended up making a mess of things. The description of the various locks and inns in the Basingstoke/London area was enticing and left me wondering just how many still exist there and whether that should be my next holiday. A perfect read for my holiday by the sea and near a canal basin where the boats sail slowly through the wooden locks.
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on 24 May 2017
These Wordsworth Classics are amazing value for money and much better quality than I expected - congratulations to Helen and the amazing 'family' at wordsworth-editions.com. All my favourites and I can afford them!
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on 30 April 2009
A passage from this book about the Plaster of Paris trout was part of my English literate syllabus in school while studying in India. I didnt read the book because I couldn't find the book in my library and later forgot about it. But I remembered the passage and the title.
I was pleasantly surprised to note that this edition contained not just "Three Men in a Boat" but also the follow up "Three Men on a Bummel". Having moved to live in South West England four years ago. I have been enamoured by the lifestyle and characters who live by the Thames particularly as it flows through this bit of England towards London. This book is fantastic because it mentions various inns, pubs, locks and places along the Thames that still exist to this day. If not for South West Trains proceeding from London Waterloo that I use to get to work and back everyday. To this day SWT is the same dysfunctional service it was at the time.
The humorous interludes are excellent and an English masterpiece in the usage of timing and comedy. I heartily suggest it to anybody living, passing through and remotely interested in the South West and life along the lesser known parts of the Thames. Although I think the author has been overtly harsh about Reading. The Olympic gold medal wedding English men's and women's team practice their rowing here.
I am yet to read the second book but its known to be just as good. Your bookshelf on English classics or literature is incomplete without this gem.
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on 7 January 2012
What can be entertaining about three men in a boat on a river with their pet dog in tow? Lots, and much of it very funny indeed.

The psychological, social and material observations still ring true today and I laughed out loud at very nearly all of them. Where this book lost me was in its historical and geographical tour guide of the Thames. While it's good to learn some history, there is an assumption of prior knowledge that passes over the head of the reader not aquainted with the Thames and it does so at length.

If you want to read this as a travel book with some humour, then it's ideal. If you buy it because the blurb sounds like it might be solely comedic then you'll be disappointed. It's a brief and enjoyable read nonetheless, but be prepared for the difference between book and publisher's description.
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on 18 May 2004
It seems that human nature hasn't changed much since Victorian times! This collection of anecdotes, observations and witticisms is a true classic, completely unaffected by the passage of time. The author's understated, self-deprecating style of humour had me roaring with laughter virtually from the first page, and even now - a week after finishing it - I still find myself chuckling at odd moments when I remember certain turns of phrase.
I was put off reading it for a long time because for some reason I had got it into my head that it was a rather heavy-going political satire. I don't know where I got that idea from, but I couldn't have been more wrong. It's a gentle, easy read. Not much plot to speak of - just the tale of three friends (and a dog) taking a boating trip up the Thames. Full of mishaps, humourous reminiscences and spot-on comments about the ridiculousness of human behaviour, it makes ideal back-garden reading for the summer.
Highly recommended. If you've never read a classic and want an easy one to start with - this is it!
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on 15 September 2008
Three Men In A Boat is one of the funniest books ever written, and it still makes me laugh no matter how often I re-read it.

This annotated version contains detailed notes about all the places the three men visit on their trip, and explanations of references that may be obscure to the modern reader. If you didn't know what Sandford & Merton was, or a shilling shocker, or if you wanted to know what the Alhambra music hall was like, or why Wallingford Lock was done away with, you can find out in this book. It is lavishly illustrated throughout with both ddrawing and black and white photographs, so you can see what Henley Regatt was like in the 1880s for instance, or what a Victorian steam-launch looked like.

Absolutely anything you could possibly want to know about 'Three Men In A Boat' can be found in this comprehensive edition.
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on 30 June 2016
As a native Walsallian myself, just like JKJ, I finally got around to getting his most famous book. I am reading it at this moment, and I'm wondering why I deprived myself of this pleasure for so long? I just can't wait to see what happens next! Such observational wit and a wonderful sense of humour! A true, British classic!
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on 2 December 2012
I first read the book more years ago than I care to remember, and laughed from beginning to end. Every now and then, when comfort reading is the order of the day, out comes 'Three Men', and the laughter starts up again. When I began collecting audiobooks, one of the first I looked for was 'Three Men', and was delighted to find that the marvellous actor Martin Jarvis had recorded it in its entirety. As soon as it arrived, on it went, and the laughter, once again, came forth. His reading, as with his other audio work, is brilliant, and the characters and situations are as fresh as the day JKJ put pen to paper.
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You don't have to be Lynne Truss to get annoyed by the use of double quotes instead of apostrophes, words that run together, etc. For something that claims to be carefully formatted, they didn't spend much time proof-reading this is all I can say. (The mis-formatting shows up on both the Kindle and on the Windows Kindle reader, so it's not just a device-specific problem).

Find a freebie version if you can.

[UPDATE: It gets worse. I just found a whole chapter repeated, line breaks in the wrong place - rating down from 2 stars to one now as a consequence]
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