Unfortunately, not very known in the English speaking countries, “Three Men in a Boat” presents itself as a comedic and somewhat ironic diary of the main character (the author), who describes the trip his friends and he decide to take due to their “poor health”. Written in 1889, the book portrays the views of the time that the reader gets to see through the eyes of the characters, and shows the history and geography of the places where the characters stop on their way to Oxford. Initially, the book was intended as a guide to travelers, but the fictional part helped create the novel many praise today.
“Three Men in a Boat” takes us through the whole trip with great detail and the comical parts make the read easy and entertaining. “I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt” J. worries. The irony and almost ridiculousness of his character is what mainly makes up for the comedy in the book. We see it through his memories that are brought up by the certain events that happen during the trip, such as seeing women on a boat ride or surviving the first rain under the tent on the boat, through his emotions and long conversations with his friends. While the other two characters, George and Harris, are always present, we do not get to learn their side of the story, and generally only see them through the eyes of J. This is how we find out who the main character likes, and who he is not very fond of. He presents each person very specifically, this way pointing out the flaws and certain traits in his friends that he does not like.
“Three Men in a Boat” is a comedic novel that will allow you to travel up Thames with J., George, Harris and Montmorency, who will brighten up the trip with their funny stories, share their experiences and live through the adventure together.
Reviewed by Yulia ’18