I needed a break from all the dystopian fiction I've been reading lately so I picked up a copy of Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome. I remember my grandfather always telling me that this was one of his favourite books and so I thought it was time I finally got around to reading it! I'm really glad I did.
Three Men in a Boat is about three men and a dog who decide that they are all feeling fed up and the best thing that they should do is to spend two weeks on a boating holiday down the Thames. The book is then made up of the things they get up to on that holiday interspersed with anecdotes from the narrator's past.
One thing people always seem to mention when they talk about this book is how modern it seems. The writing style does feel very modern; it reminds me of P.G Wodehouse actually. I really loved the section when J (as the narrator is referred to by his friends) is talking about people in the future considering everyday 19th century objects as something precious:
“Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow- pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd?”
I loved that passage because, yes J, people will do that. My grandparents had willow pattern plates on their wall above the fireplace.
The book is very funny, and the section where Harris talks about his adventures getting lost in Hampton Court maze is brilliant. Although there is a passage towards the end of the book where J describes a time when he found the body of a dead woman in the river. The section does not seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the book and it was a little off-putting. Just something to bear in mind if you decide to read this book.
I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a short, light-hearted read, and especially to anyone who has ever been on a boating holiday along the Thames!