Thursday, November 1, 2007

Book Reviews: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men in a Boat is the classic story of three friends and a dog taking a boat/camping trip along the River Thames from Kingston to Oxford, and is a masterpiece of understated humour. The three Victorian gentlemen are not well equiped to deal with the lack of luxury sleeping on a covered rowing boat delivers and most of the humour is derived from the ridiculous mishaps that occur.

The style used by the author is very understated and "Three Men in a Boat" is a masterclass of how to go off on a comic tangent and enhance the story instead of detracting from it. I particularly enjoyed the tangents when the author believed himself to have every ailment in the medical dictionary bar one and the farcical description of his uncle putting up a picture. The beginning of this book is full of comic moments as the friends prepare for the trip and get used to their new routine on the boat, but the humour fades a little as the book goes on.

This is classic literature at its most readable and enjoyable but most of the highlights are in the first half of the book, with the second half taking on a rather descriptive style. Whilst enjoying this story immensely I found it a little overrated because it feels a little less than complete, even though it has a number of laugh out loud moments.

I would recommend this story to all readers from the age of about 10 upwards and of particular interest to those who like humourous novels. For readers considering tackling something from the classic literature genre, this would be a perfect book to start with because of its easy-to-read style and funny incidents.

Score: 8/10

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