3 Men and a Dog in a Boat. What could go wrong?

Posted on September 19, 2011

3 Men in a Boat – Not to Mention a Dog. By: Jerome K. Jerome

Humor is relative. Go ahead, listen to the ‘Best Hits’ of comedy radio drama. Or better yet, watch M*A*S*H. It’s not really that funny. But there was a time when you could remember it being hilarious. Sometimes you run into people (Tracey Morgan for example) who can make the most mundane sentences side-splittingly funny. And even more than that, humor in the written form is hard to come by. Often it just seems like people are trying too hard. Which is what makes ‘Three Men in a Boat’, by Jerome K. Jerome, so wonderful.

I picked this up (on my Nook, good luck finding this in print suckers) because I had heard that it was ‘the funniest book ever written.’ Here’s the thing, it was written in 1898 and it is as funny as ever. Seriously, it was one of those books where I would be sitting there reading and my girlfriend would have to leave because she was so tired of hearing me chuckle to myself.

It’s a simple account of three men, J. (a character based off of the author), George, Harris, and a dog, Montmorecy, who decide to go on a camping skiff down the Thames. On one hand this is actually a pretty nifty account of all the important events in British history that took place along that river. It was originally conceived as a travel guide. Unfortunately it turns into a comic misadventure.

They start their journey in Kensington and make their way from lock to lock until the weather forbids from travelling further. In many ways, the humor predates ‘Family Guy’ in that it is full of ‘oh that reminds me of a hilarious story.’ But in the case of ’3 Men in a Boat’, the asides make sense in context.

In one case he tells a story of two guys who come back from a night on a town and accidentally get into the same bed with each other and then throw each other out of bed. In another he tells of an entire village that claims to have caught a giant trout on a pub wall, which turns out to be just a plaster cast.

“3 Men in a Boat” is easily one of the best comic novels ever written and there is not a single person alive who was around when it was written. It will do to make you laugh but also cause you to seriously consider going on an adventure. Just make sure you bring friends along who want to help out.

Like this book review? I’ve got a whole lot more. Here you go!

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