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Extended Audio Sample Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,440 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jerome K. Jerome Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781455169856
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If you’ve never read anything by Jerome K. Jerome, you’d be well advised to heed this warning by the Glasgow Herald: “It would be dangerous to [listen to] this book in any place––say a full railway compartment––where the reader was not at perfect liberty to laugh as loudly and as long as he chose.” The passage of time has not altered that verdict. Here is a perfect picture of those lazy summer days “messing about in boats.”

After his final trip up the river Thames with his three companions––Harris, George, and Montmorency the dog––Jerome K. Jerome sat down to write his proposed book, The Story of the Thames. But before he could tackle the work in the serious manner intended, his humor took over and gave birth to a masterpiece of unquenchable comedy. This is a classic of English humor, justifiably loved around the world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Wonderfully fresh and funny…Jerome’s writing triumphantly stands the test of time.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “The book was meant to be a serious travel guide…but Jerome’s rambling anecdotes and humorous take on travelers J., Harris, and George—and J.’s feckless fox terrier, Montmorency—turned it into something far rarer: an honest account of male friendship.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “The trio of Jerome K. Jerome’s comic 1889 novel are in that honorable tradition. They are indolent, upper-class and rather dim…They have several comic mishaps, including a disastrous encounter with a tin of pineapple, but they also, in some of the book’s loveliest passages, absorb a bit of the history and the beauty of their country.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “I'd warn against reading this book in public: you may get arrested for breach of the peace. I would be a little stunned if it doesn't become on of your favorites.”

    Julia Stuart, author of The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise

  • “Perhaps the greatest of all Victorian comic novels.”

    Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize–winning book critic

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 2/15/2014

    " my romance is Jerome Klapka's Three Men in a Boat! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 2/13/2014

    " Good. Quite funny. Reminds me a bit of HG Wells' "The Wheels of Chance". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill Crowther | 2/10/2014

    " The funniest book ever written! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Divakar | 2/10/2014

    " This is about a person who, along with two of his friends and his dog decide that they are too sick to work in the city and undertake a boat journey up the Thames. It is quite hilarious in most parts while the description gets quite a bit wordy and lengthy sometimes. I would recommend it to all very highly and put it on the read list of every English reading person above the age of, say, 13. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louise Armstrong | 2/8/2014

    " I love this - and reading it again, I was struck by how good he is at punctuation, which makes sense: timing is the essence of comedy, and punctuation is how you time your writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 travelgirlut | 2/5/2014

    " I read this book while reading Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog since her book was heavily influenced by this one. While it helped me understand Willis' book better, Three Men in a Boat is great all by itself. I was laughing out loud repeatedly. I love the writing style and sense of humor and could see myself reading this again when I need a good laugh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 2/4/2014

    " This is a difficult book to describe. Jerome started out to write a travelogue, and it morphed into a fiction novel about a humorous river journey. There are the historical bits that reflect the original purpose of the book, the hilarious river hijinks, some random side stories, and even a sad and moving segment about a woman who threw herself into the river in despair and died because of the cruelty of her "friends" and family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julia | 2/3/2014

    " This was really humorous and light but clever as well. I am afraid that things like this don't get published anymore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Barresi | 2/1/2014

    " After starting off brilliantly, the book began to lose steam about 100 pages in. I don't know if it needed to be so long, even though it wasn't a long book, 169 pages. However, it was an enjoyable read and glad that I finally broke down and read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Doris | 1/29/2014

    " This is a very funny book. The humor reminds me of Bridget Jones Diary. There is no mystery or romance, it is the observations and stories of 3 men while boating on the Thames. Besides the humour, what I found interesting is the fact that while this book was written over 100 years ago, not much has changed in human nature and society. It is a quick and fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenneth Pabilonia | 1/28/2014

    " This is one of the funniest books I had ever read. I had a good laugh by reading this. Very witty and entertaining. The adventures of the "three men" are very hilarious and sometimes even stupid, but it will give you smiles. Jokes will still apply today, as if the book were written only a few years ago. Although, in the latter part of the book, I have skipped several pages because of a long historical event described by him that to me, is irrelevant to the narrative. Still, it is highly recommended for everyone. This is one classic you'll never get bored in reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick Crume | 1/27/2014

    " This is a very humorous book, originally published in 1889, about rowing on the Thames. It was a nice light read for summer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 vindhya | 1/27/2014

    " Such delightful humour. I will never not love this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 1/23/2014

    " Very funny. Hard to believe it was first published in 1889. Similar to P.G. Wodehouse. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacy Natal | 1/22/2014

    " Not really my cup of tea, I had a hard time getting through it. The scattered train of thought/format made me feel scattered. It did make me chuckle a few times. Looking forward to what the book club has to say about it next week. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marzie | 1/20/2014

    " Really a treasure to read and the humor is timeless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 1/16/2014

    " Fairly funny and light travelogue sketch. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marian Allen | 1/11/2014

    " Someone once asked me what one book I would want, if I were shipwrecked on a desert island with only one book, and this was my choice. It ranges from sheer poetry to sheer lunacy, with a bit of history thrown in. It can't be described, but boat traffic on the Thames increased drastically after its publication, and it's been referenced by everyone from Peter Lovesey (the Sergeant Cribb Victorian mystery SWING, SWING TOGETHER) to Robert Heinlein (HAVE SPACE SUIT--WILL TRAVEL) and Connie Willis (TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 VWrulesChick | 1/9/2014

    " Published in 1889, over a century old, was famed for its comical writing. Reading it, trying to imagine myself during this time and watching these three friends on their escapades on the Thames River over a two week period. I just couldn't get into it and didn't find anything humourous or comical about it. Guess it doesn't translate well to the 21st century. Though a few times, ended up reading the inside of my eyelids. Great if you need some zzzz. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 1/5/2014

    " I read this after Connie WIllis's "To Say Nothing of the Dog" which in many ways is a homage to "Three Men in A Boat." The Victorian roots of Beyond the Frings, MOnty Python, et al. The humorous bits are truly wonderful, the Victorian embellishments are interesting period pieces. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kidsbookworm | 1/5/2014

    " I saw that this book would give me a flavor of Britain, so I picked it up. I didn't expect it to be laugh out loud funny, but that's what it is in parts. I enjoyed reading about the English countryside, as seen from the Thames. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marcus | 1/4/2014

    " I don't like comedy books and this 'classic' was no exception. However I can recommend Jerome K. Jerome's non-fiction; notably 'On the Art of Making Up One's Mind'. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phil | 1/4/2014

    " Quite simply one of the most delightful books I have ever read. As a result I too wish to take a journey up the river camping out on fine evenings and staying a local inns when the weather is inclement. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marjorie Devine-king | 12/24/2013

    " Very funny in parts. Very English, so a lot of the content can be meaningless if you don't know a lot about English history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine Robertson | 12/21/2013

    " The comic set pieces in this book are unbeatable. Harris in the Hampton Court maze, the cheeses and Uncle Podger hanging the picture - sheer, unadulterated brilliance that makes me go all wheezy and gulpy with laughter, no matter how many times I read them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Jordan | 12/13/2013

    " Once you've read one chapter you don't need to read any more. Same joke all the way through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cara | 12/10/2013

    " concentrated hilarity- just add reader "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonny Hodgetts | 12/9/2013

    " The humour is as fresh today as when it was written over 120 years ago and it remains one of the funniest books I've read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Autumn | 12/4/2013

    " Hilarious, in that particular turn-of-the-century British way I love so much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aneel | 11/30/2013

    " I've been meaning to read this since seeing it mentioned as an inspiration in To Say Nothing of the Dog. Happened to run across a Wikipedia entry that mentioned it and grabbed it from the library. It's amusing. Full of clever anecdotes and observations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kienie | 11/18/2013

    " I was a bit disappointed towards the end. It started out very well, but it didn't really get any better, and in parts it was dull (wanted to use this word). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 10/29/2013

    " I am not sure how many times I have read this, but I still laugh at the same bits I laughed at first time I read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fe | 10/28/2013

    " Un libro godibilissimo, i personaggi sono uno spasso e si respira l'aria della campagna inglese di un tempo. Dopo averlo letto ogni volta che avrete voglia di oziare non potranno non venirvi in mente i 3 personaggi (per non parlar del cane...) che popolano le sue pagine. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marcus | 10/27/2013

    " I don't like comedy books and this 'classic' was no exception. However I can recommend Jerome K. Jerome's non-fiction; notably 'On the Art of Making Up One's Mind'. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Florin Pitea | 8/1/2013

    " Read it 3 or 4 times, back in junior high school and in high school, and loved it. Will probably read it in English as well, rather than in Romanian translation, sometime in the future. Recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordan Corbman | 5/6/2013

    " Just started this book, but so far it is fantastic. It is a comical account of an adventure down the river. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 5/4/2013

    " This book was charming and offered an entertaining glimpse into life and leisure in the 1800's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 4/24/2013

    " Not sure why this has gotten popular right now. Agree that it is humorous. Read this for book club for January 2012 meeting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jayne Charles | 4/3/2013

    " Just good honest humour, and though it may be from a bygone age it's still easily capable of raising a belly laugh today. Uncle Podger reminds me of my husband; the account of him hanging a picture on the wall had me in stitches. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex Lewis | 3/12/2013

    " Yup, Hugh Laurie was the right choice to read it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 3/6/2013

    " Funny... very funny. Whittier than P.G.Wodehouse dare I say? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alison | 1/17/2013

    " Everyone should read at least bits of this book at sometime in their life. Perfect turn of the century British humor dished out wittily by three gentlemanly stinkers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sanam | 1/9/2013

    " At times funny. A bit of a one-trick pony. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Samuel | 12/25/2012

    " Wickedly witty; a drowsy, charming and thoroughly amusing tale. Packed with mirth and hilarious without being cheesy (excepting, of course, the cheese). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/11/2012

    " if i could give this 1.5 million stars i would. i would even settle for 6 stars. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jillian | 9/25/2012

    " A friend advised me not to bother with this and I should have listened. I made it to chapter 5 and then gave up. This book isn't funny enough to get away with being so pointless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gerald | 8/24/2012

    " English humor at its most English. I had no problem finishing it but it definitely was not one of those 'can't wait to get home and start reading' books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gene | 6/4/2012

    " Very funny in places, but goes off on tangents that can go on for pages. Book is quite old and style is certainly different than modern authors "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelley | 6/1/2012

    " After years of rereading To Say Nothing of the Dog, it's about damn time I read this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolien | 5/22/2012

    " Funny, but it got a bit tedious after a while. Didn't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Selene | 4/24/2012

    " Hilarious pitch, countered by an excess of boating mishap tales. Free Montmorency! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan Strnad | 3/24/2012

    " This book has some of the funniest writing I've ever encountered in literature. Jerome may have been writing in the early 19th century, but his sense of humor is right up there with P. G. Wodehouse, James Thurber and Dave Barry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glorious.Clio | 3/5/2012

    " Hilarious!! I adored the sense of humor and the philosophy of this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Petrea | 2/29/2012

    " A Victorian book about a boat trip made by three young men and their dog on the Themes River in England--very funny!! Lots of interesting history and geography and typical British humor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Don Gubler | 1/15/2012

    " Very funny but not quite a funny as I was led to believe. Dated which may be good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa N | 11/14/2011

    " This started out very funny, but after about 150 pages, I couldn't take any more. I ended up reading only about half of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick Crume | 10/23/2011

    " This is a very humorous book, originally published in 1889, about rowing on the Thames. It was a nice light read for summer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 knig | 10/11/2011

    " The most hilarious book I have ever read. Is there a funnier book out there to beat it? Let me know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Beth | 10/9/2011

    " Enjoyable ride down the Thames with three lazy and hypochondriac men... to say nothing of the dog. Wodehousean at a time when Wodehouse was still in diapers. It's nice to see the footsteps he was following in. Fun and surprisingly undated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Don Gubler | 9/14/2011

    " Very funny but not quite a funny as I was led to believe. Dated which may be good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Veronica Davids | 8/25/2011

    " every reader/writer must read this timeless humorous tale! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wil | 8/20/2011

    " A readable account of the antics of three men sailing up the Thames....but what was humorous more than a century ago isn't necessarily funny today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erick Njenga | 8/8/2011

    " Three idiots and a retarded dog go on a boat ride. What could possibly go wrong? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 5/16/2011

    " Iw was funny and for a fan of humorous writing a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 5/12/2011

    " One of the funniest things I have ever read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Willow | 5/11/2011

    " I didn't like this book. It seemed like the author was trying too hard to be funny. It was really boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 5/5/2011

    " Funny in that lovely understated late-Victorian way. Which is to say not really laugh-out-loud funny, but pleasantly amusing at times. "

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