Top positive review
As good today as it always was.
on 24 January 2018
Our bookclub met to discuss/review Jerome K. Jerome's, "Three Men in a Boat - To Say Nothing of the Dog." AKA "Three Men Spend 5 Chapters Discussing and Packing Before They Even Get on the Boat." Way too many jokes to be had here so i'll move quickly on.
The book chronicles a 2 week boating trip made by Jerome with his 2 friends George and Harris. The trip starts out from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford and they are joined by Jerome's cat hating fox terrier Montmorency who enjoys adventures all of his own. It should be pointed out that Montmoreny is a fictional dog but those of you who are dog owners/lovers will see him as very much real. In any event he is very much part of the group.
The trip was initially meant to act as a break from the stresses of life with Jerome himself suggesting that he suffered from all the ailments that can possibly be thrown at humankind.
The book was also meant to act as a serious travel guide blending their experiences with an insight into the history of the places they visited on route. However, It was not to be as instead the comedy took over and i'm so glad it did. To be fair the anecdotes are sparked by the trip which acted as an effective memory jogger to the amusing tales that unfolded.
Don't get me wrong I love to travel and I enjoy history but it has to be on my terms and I personally had little interest in the history connected to their stops. Others, i'm sure would have preferred the more serious approach and I'm also certain that other writers have covered their desires with their own publications.
One of the collective suggested that it was very much like a Ronnie Corbett monologue where during the famous segment in The Two Ronnies (preceding the closing musical number) he digresses much and often with quips/gags as he tells the audience the actual main body of a joke. It was a fine observation as the humour opens up while the tale of the trip is being told.
Another, felt it conjured up images of Compo, Clegg and Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine that classic, gentle and amusing British situation comedy. Yes, I can definitely see the connection.
I enjoyed the fall out that often happens on a boating trip or indeed a camping trip. Jerome, George and Harris are guilty of accusing the other of not pulling their weight but always justifying their own behaviours.
There are so many laugh out loud comical incidents to speak of but in short: -
Chapter 3 - Uncle Podger creating chaos while hanging a picture.
Chapter 4 - Advantages of cheese as a travelling companion (or not).
Chapter 7 - Mrs Thomas's tomb.
Chapter 8 - How Harris sings a comic song.
Chapter 12 - Disadvantages of living in same house with pair of lovers.
Chapter 13 - Montmorency thinks he will murder an old tom cat. / Shameful conduct of a fox terrier at the store. / Strange disappearance of Harris and a pie.
Chapter 14 - Harris and the swans, a remarkable story. / Irish stew.
Chapter 17 - Plaster of Paris trout, a fishy story.
Chapter 18 - The boating photograph incident.
I could go on and on.......
I could mention George's dodgy Banjo playing and his redemption in the final chapter when he is requested to play as all four sit in the boat enduring the dismal downpour of rain.
The book consists of many more great comical anecdotes that are as amusing today as they were when the book was published in 1889.