Allow me to begin this review by saying I've given this book five stars because I found it hilarious, delicious, relaxing and informative at various times. I cannot say that everyone would give it a five, though I can't imagine anybody giving it less than three stars.
So then, what is this book about? The title sums it up perfectly...it's about three men (and a dog) in a boat. Jerome and his pals, George and Harris decide to take a fortnight off and go boating up the River Thames. Their adventures (or misadventures rather) are few but their trip inspires in our writer and his friends a lot of reminiscing that leads to the mini-novel being peppered throughout with interesting, and mostly hilarious little anecdotes. Here and there Jerome K Jerome let's drop little pearls of life's everyday paradoxes and we can't help but laugh and agree with him. I wish I could put down a couple of quotes to show you what I mean, but I was reluctant to pause in the middle of my reading to take care of something as mundane as making notes.
Apart from the humour and the anecdotes there were passages that revealed the poet in the writer's soul. Of the three friends Jerome is definitely the dreamer, and he describes the various places they see along the Thames with such freshness and delicacy that you can almost taste the scenery. Each place also has some interesting tidbits of history that Jerome happily shares with us. Really, in many places, the book reads as a travel guide for the River Thames. I kept wondering if, more than a century later, these places still exist with the same charm Jerome ascribes to them.
This books is really one to savour. And while I wouldn't possibly read it from cover to cover again, I definitely would like to relish it piece-meal every now and then.