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Three Men in a Boat & Three Men on the Bummel
by Jerome K. Jerome
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Still funny today.
This isn’t as much a straight-up sequel to Three Men in a Boat as it is an excuse for Jerome to tear into a whole new range of satirical topics—but it still a sequel. It features the same characters, about ten years later, on another misguided but ultimately benign bout of tourism, and with about the same level of self-awareness as before.
Less of the book takes place in Germany than I’d thought going in, and there Jerome focuses on “highlights” like the dog chasing a pig around a restaurant or the habit of German carters to fall asleep at the reins, rather than the day-to-day. Most of the rest of the book’s about the trio planning the trip and setting off, with digressions into other unfortunate past travel adventures, explanations for why things must be done a particular way, and generally exaggerating social foibles and expectations to poke fun at them. My favourite of these was probably the passage about how nobody is bike ads ever seems to be putting in any effort and how they were sexualized even then. My least favourite was probably the continued harping about how rule-abiding the Germans are, and how they’ll fine you for everything.
But it’s still a fun story with much the same silliness and spirit of Three Men in a Boat, though. A lot of the humour’s still funny and relatable—running for public transit, language education that fails utterly, that guy who absolutely knows how to fix your vehicle but actually doesn’t—though there are bits that haven’t aged well. For some reason Jerome throws in a passage with a Black stereotype, he seems really into informing us how fat the Germans are, and some of his comments probably sounded great before the two World Wars. That sort of thing.
But all in all, it’s an amusing book and a decent sequel, but it’s not a must-read. I definitely got a sense reading this that if it had been written today, it would’ve been somebody’s stand-up routine rather than a novel, and maybe that’s all you need to know, to know if you’ll like it.
To bear in mind: May offend some Germans. May offend some English people. Almost certainly will offend fat people. Contains an exceptionally outdated word for Black people, and some parody dialogue for both Black and Scottish people, spelled-out dialect and all. (The Black one is notably worse, because of course it is.)
There is nothing useful this book. Nothing edifying, nothing instructive, or clarifying in this novel.
I read Three Men in a Boat last month and didn't learn anything at all! And this month I pick up Three Men on the Bummel and expected *AT LEAST* a concise travelogue with pretty pictures describing the joys of riding bikes down hills in sweet German countrysides and partaking of local cuisine and generally trying to make myself understood.
What I did get was a bunch of prattle about how to extricate yourself from collapsing in a mess with the locals, how many fines you have to pay when you walk on the wrong side of the street, stolen bicycles, mysterious dogs, and the fact that the narrator was kicked out of his own house because he's a twat.
This is last time I pick up a travel brochure from that guy down by St. Denis square with the ratty top hat and that extensive collection of hair restorative products.
A wonderfully funny book. Jerome K. Jerome rightly deserves the praised heaped on him since this book was published in 1889. The second novel, Three Men on the Bummel, is not as funny or endearing but provides some interesting insights on turn of the century Germany.
Belongs to Series
Three Men (1-2)
Belongs to Publisher Series
Everyman's Library (118)
`Other works may excel this in depth of thought and knowledge of human nature: other books may rival it in originality and size; but, for hopeless and incurable vivacity, nothing yet discovered can surpass it.' (Jerome, Preface to Three Men in a Boat).Three Men in a Boat describes a comic expedition by middle-class Victorians up the Thames to Oxford. It provides brilliant snap-shots of London's playground in the late 1880s, where the fashionable steam-launches of river swells encounter the hired skiffs of city clerks. The medley of socialvignettes, farcical incidents, descriptions of river fashions, and reflections on the Thames's history, is interspersed with humorous anecdotes told by a natural raconteur.Three Men on the Bummel records a similar escapade, a break from the claustrophobia of suburban life some ten years later; their cycling tour in the Black Forest, at the height of the new bicycling craze, affords Jerome the opportunity for a light-hearted scrutiny of German social customs at a timeof increasing general interest in a country that he loved. This account of middle-aged Englishmen abroad is spiced with typical Jeromian humour.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.912Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1901-1945
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Apparently this is not the kind of humor I appreciate. I saw what he was trying to do and how he was trying to be funny, but it just came over as tedious and dull for me. *shrug* ( )