Laughs are the Biggest Incentive: A Review of Three Men in a Boat

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One night, while my older sister was reading, she burst out laughing for the millionth time. I looked up, annoyed, and asked her to “stop, for goodness’ sake.” As she muffled her laughter, my mouth started to twitch. The next moment I was helpless with laughter. I do not know what I was laughing at; it might have been the irony of the whole situation. What I do know is that when my sister finished reading her book, I got my hands on it as fast as I could.

Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, is a fictional Victorian comedy. Jerome (the author himself), George, Harris, and Montmorency (the dog) decide to spend ten days fighting and frolicking on a boat excursion down the Thames River. Because this book is bursting with farcical incidents and hilarious characters, it is not to be missed.

Three Men in a Boat was jam-packed with hilarious incidents. They are remarkable because they nearly always start with, “Ah! That reminds me . . .” Jerome uses very descriptive adjectives as well as frank wording to create even wittier accounts of sidesplitting stories. Other times he will speak of the wildly romantic: the eerie singing of mermaids, the melancholy sigh of wind in the trees, the raindrops like tears falling on Nature’s bosom . . . and then interrupt his poetic rant by making some blunt comment, such as the fact that poetry would never have any effect on Harris (who seemingly cries only when there is too much Worcestershire sauce on his meat).

The characters in Three Men in a Boat are also hilarious. As an actor, Jerome must have only performed comedies: his characters are perfectly conceived, leaving no other explanation. Every character is comical, even down to the dog, Montmorency, who has a perfectly angelic air. “Angelic” Montmorency causes havoc and chaos throughout the journey. Meanwhile, Harris makes a fool of himself at every opportunity and cooks up a plate of atrocious scrambled eggs.

Three Men in a Boat is a truly memorable book: hilarious enough to make both my sister and me laugh. With Jerome revealing amusing stories, George playing discords on his banjo, Harris making appalling scrambled eggs, and Montmorency adding noise and chaos, this book would be a real pity to skip. Perhaps the most effective incentive will be an older sister’s laugh.

Ages: 12+

You can buy this book here.

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