Title: Three Men In A Boat
(To Say Nothing Of The Dog)
Author: Jerome K. Jerome
Source: Book Store
Genre: Classic Literature
This book was a first-time read for me as part of The Classics Club (I have set a goal to read 60 classics in 60 months. See my Classics Club tab for my complete list).
Description from Goodreads:
When J. the narrator, George, Harris, and Montmorency the dog set off on their hilarious misadventures, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather-forecasts, imaginary illnesses, butter pats and tins of pineapple chunks. Denounced as vulgar by the literary establishment, Three Men in a Boat nevertheless caught the spirit of the times. The expansion of education and the increase in office workers created a new mass readership, and Jerome's book was especially popular among the 'clerking classes' who longed to be 'free from that fretful haste, that vehement striving, that is every day becoming more and more the bane of nineteenth-century life.'
This is one of those books that made me laugh out loud, repeatedly, throughout the story. Jerome K. Jerome's writing style is not only humorous and detailed, but still spot on regarding human quirks and opinions 125 years after the story was first written. I still can't believe that I had not heard of this book before...it is its own kind of masterpiece!
"I called for the cheeses, and took them away in a cab. It was a ramshackle affair, dragged along by a knock kneed, broken-winded somnambulist, which his owner, in a moment of enthusiasm, during conversation, referred to as a horse. I put the cheeses on the top, and we started off at a shamble that would have done credit to the swiftest steamroller ever built..."
[After two of them attempt to put up the soaking wet canvas tent, and the third friend is exhausted from baling out the boat, J., George, and Harris discover...] "Rainwater is the chief article of diet at supper. The bread is two-thirds rainwater, the beefsteak-pie is exceedingly rich in it, and the jam, and the butter, and the salt, and the coffee have all combined with it to make soup."
"To look at Montmorency you would imagine that he was an angel sent upon the earth, for some reason withheld from mankind, in the shape of a small fox-terrier. There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen......yet this dog was born with about four times as much original sin as other dogs.......Montmorency's ambition in life, is to get in the way and be sworn at. If he can squirm in anywhere where he is particularly not wanted, and be a perfect nuisance, and make people mad, and have things thrown at his head, then he feels his day has not been wasted."
"George had rather a curious oilskin-covered parcel in his hand. It was round and flat at one end, with a long straight handle sticking out of it. 'What's that?' said Harris, 'a frying pan?' 'No,' said George, with a strange, wild look glittering in his eyes; 'they are all the rage this season; everybody has got them up the river. It's a banjo.' "
"And Harris never sees what an ass he is making of himself, and how he is annoying a lot of people who never did him any harm. He honestly imagines that he has given them a treat, and says he will sing another comic song after supper."