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Summary Of Three Men In A Boat

The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction. Much  of the praise for Three Men in a Boat centres on how undated it appears to modern readers, the humous is still fresh and witty.

The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator J.) and two real-life friends, George and Carl with whom he often took boating trips.The dog, Montmorency, is entirely fictional.

The three men meet one evening and discuss their various illnesses. They conclude they are all in need of a holiday and decide on a river trip on the Thames, during which they will camp, notwithstanding J.'s anecdotes regarding previous mishaps with tents and camping stoves.

They embark the following Saturday. They are unable to find the correct train  so they bribe a train driver to take his train to Kingston, where they collect their hired boat and start their journey.

The remainder of the story relates their river journey and the incidents that occur. The book's original purpose as a guidebook is apparent as the narrator describes the passing landmarks and villages and reflects upon historical associations of these places. He frequently digresses into anecdotes. The most frequent themes are river pastimes such as fishing and boating and the difficulties they present to the inexperienced and unwary.

The book includes classic comedy set-pieces, such as the story of two drunken men who slide into the same bed in the dark, other amusing incidents are the plaster trout and the making of Irish Stew from leftovers in Chapters 14 and Chapter 17. My own favourite “funny” part is the scenewhere Black’s Medical Dictionary is consulted and by the end J decides he has every single illness in it with the exception of tennis elbow and “housemaid’s knee”

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