When Beth from Beth Fish Reads recommeded To Say Nothing of the Dog as one of her top reads in 2008. I decided to add it to my wish list. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a parody of Three Men in a Boat, so I decided I really should read the classic before attempting the time travel version!
Three Men in a Boat is a light read, about a journey along the River Thames during Victorian times. It is full of humor, but most of the time I found myself smiling at them, rather than with them, as the puns are just too obvious:
Then we discussed the food question. George said:
‘Begin with breakfast.’ (George is so practical.) ‘Now for breakfast we shall want a frying pan’ – Harris said it was indigestible; but we merely urged him not to be an ass, and George went on – ‘a teapot and a kettle, and a methylated spirit stove.’
I live just two miles from the River Thames, and know it very well. I loved learning about what it was like over a hundred years ago. It was really nice to see places I visit regularly described in the book:
You pass Oatlands Park on the right bank here. It is a famous old place. Henry VIII stole it from someone or other, I forget whom now, and lived in it. There is a grotto in the park which you can see for a fee, and is supposed to be very wonderful.
I have taken my boys to play in Oatlands Park many times, and have never seen a grotto, so I looked it up on the Internet. I was amazed to find out how beautiful it was. There’s a photo here. Unfortunately it was dynamited in 1948, as people were trespassing on it, and the owners thought this was unsafe. I can’t believe such a special place has been destroyed.
Many other places I recognised were described, and I recommend this book to anyone who knows the Thames well. I can’t see much attraction to other people, as it is just a bit silly. I’m really looking forward to reading To Say Nothing of The Dog, and hope it is a much more rewarding read.
Beth’s review is of Three Men in a Boat is here.