- Paperback: 178 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press; 1 edition (28 June 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141194790
- ISBN-13: 978-0141194790
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.5 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 227 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
Three Men In A Boat: Popular Penguins Paperback – 28 Jun 2010
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About the Author
Three Men in a Boat is a fictional, and hugely exaggerated, version of an actual boat trip up the River Thames that Jerome took with two friends. After this book's success Jerome worked as a novelist, playwright and editor. He made lecture tours, especially in the USA and caused a scandal by publicly criticising the
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The author acquired his odd name from his father, who changed his own name from Jerome Clapp to Jerome Clapp Jerome and named his son after himself. At some stage the son changed his middle name to Klapa. The family was impoverished after the father's early death and the son received little education. At various times he worked for the railroad, as an actor, as a school teacher, and as a law clerk. He started writing humorous essays in the early 1880's and had several books of collected essays published. He hit the jackpot when he wrote THREE MEN IN A BOAT which (oddly enough) was actually based on his honeymoon on a small boat on the Thames River.
Either Mrs. Jerome didn't care to be featured in a book or her husband figured that he could get more comic situations out of a stag party. Whatever the reason, the characters are the narrator, his friends Harris and George, and Montmorency - a fox terrier who thinks he's a Great Dane. The three young men are all suffering from a variety of imaginary ailments (Montmorency is in fine fettle) and decide that they will spend their holidays sailing up the Thames.
It's difficult to say why the book is so entertaining, except that the humor is sly and yet very realistic. Although styles in clothing, food, and camping gear have changed dramatically, three guys setting out on such a trip today would have pretty much the same mix-ups, snafus, and snits as this trio. Human nature hasn't changed. This book was such a hit that the leisure activity of boating on the Thames became wildly popular and has been so ever since. Today, England has restored many of the canals that moved goods in past centuries and boating trips and even living permanently on boats is a huge industry. This author was never able to replicate his success in his later books, but he definitely left his mark. If you haven't read this one, you should.
About halfway through the book there is a beautiful thought expressed by the writer, seemingly out of context with the humorous story, arising more or less on its own. It reveals a sublime depth in the writer I would not otherwise have known: "... And we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God. Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light; and they, when they return, may not speak of it, or tell the mystery they know" (pp 1393--97 of Kindle story).
I was disappointed that this adaptation cut out three of my favorite parts of the original. There's no thoughts on cheese in a boat, no swans (how can you cut out the swans!?!), and no bagpipes. So sad. It's still a fairly good adaptation. It keeps the sarcastic spirit of the original and the illustration style definitely fits the mood. A good introduction to this classic, but I'd still encourage readers to check out the original for the full comedic enjoyment.
Notes on content: One mild swear word. No sexual content or decency issues. No violence, except a dog killing a rat. True to the time period, all three men smoke pipes and have alcoholic beverages with meals.
Example: "Cæsar, like, in later years, Elizabeth, seems to have stopped everywhere; only he was more respectable than good Queen Bess; he didn’t put up at the public-houses."
"In later years, Reading seems to have been regarded as a handy place to run down to, when matters were becoming unpleasant in London. Parliament generally rushed off to Reading whenever there was a plague on at Westminster; and, in 1625, the Law followed suit, and all the courts were held at Reading. It must have been worth while having a mere ordinary plague now and then in London to get rid of both the lawyers and the Parliament"