'Three Men in a Boat' is undoubtedly the funniest book ever to be published. If you are in love with P.G. Wodehouse's work then you'll certainly love this classic written by Jerome K Jerome. It happens to be the most humorous book that I have laid a hand on. It was published in year 1889 and captures the story of three protagonists on a holiday on the river Thames. 'Three Men in a Boat' was followed by another book 'Three Men on a Bummel' which was not as successful as the former one in its times, but is equally interesting to read.
The book starts with three friends George, Harris and J. (the narrator) sitting together and discussing their sufferings and other trivial matters that have contributed towards their ill health. J, the narrator, is so confused by his symptoms that he refers to a medical book and happens to misconceive that he has got almost every possible ailment recorded in there.At one point he is so exasperated that he says- "I thought what an interesting case I would be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to the class! Students would have no need 'to walk the hospitals', if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they need to do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma."
The friends discuss their problems and come to unanimous decision that all their sufferings are because of being overworked and they need a holiday to rejuvenate themselves. Planning and arranging things turn out to be a herculean task as they seem to have different opinions and choices. While deciding upon what to carry and what not to carry, they talk about instances encountered in the past which were really annoying and funny at the same time. Their objection to carry paraffin oil on the boat because of a previous unpleasant experience confines them to carry methylated spirit instead.
Once everything is settled, they decide to meet at Kingston from where they would embark on their boating trip. Along with Montmorency, the narrator's dog, they reach Kingston by a train after a lot of confusion and chaos. The rest of the story captures the adventures of these three friends on the river. The precise description unfolds picturesque beauty of the river and towns they pass through. While travelling they talk about many instances that will make you laugh. They make comments on early English history, carved oak, Hampton Court and so many other things. Their individual experiences have been brought together in the story so well that it makes the entire experience humorous. They talk about almost everything while travelling like camping, boating, singing, sailing and rafting. Each of their topics of discussion is on a funnier side. They also encounter quite a few mishaps while travelling that are interesting and idiotic.
'Three Men in a Boat' has a wonderful capability of acquainting the readers with the 19th century England. The humor in the story is brought forth so intelligently that you cannot resist yourself from laughing out loud. The tongue in cheek humor is behind the success of this book. 'Three Men in a Boat' is truly Jerome K Jerome's masterpiece which has not been read by quite a few of us. In case if you have missed this one then go ahead and grab a copy...you are not going to regret it for sure!