Saturday, 24 May 2008
A disinclination to work of any kind
This morning I finished Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog!), which Fathima recommended to me when I was looking for something to cheer me up after Penny died. I first, for reasons I can't remember now, had to read some sad stuff and a pulpy historical novel, but I'm really glad I read this one relatively sooner rather than later. It gave me many good belly laughs, a plethora of chuckles, and a burning desire to spend two weeks on the Thames in a boat with my best pals and a dog given to making enemies of tea kettles.
Jerome has been compared to P.G. Wodehouse and I can see why but I think maybe Jerome was a bit weirder. This sort-of-novel (based, apparently, on his honeymoon!!! You'll understand why I needed to use three exclamation points in a row here if you've read the book) is more of a collection of seemingly unconnected vignettes combined with a travel pamphlet on the Thames written by someone with bi-polar disorder (but mildly and charmingly expressed).
Three Men in a Boat is also somehow both a send-up of the laziness of the leisured young gentleman and a manifesto in favour of laziness. The narrator and his friends evince a persistent "disinclination to work of any kind" and I have to say, Jerome made this sound pretty attractive at the same time that it was guffaw-worthy. I think Jerome K. Jerome might be my new literary boyfriend.
NB: My husband and I watched a great film tonight called Death at a Funeral, which I feel certain Jerome would have enjoyed as well. You should watch it, and not just because it was directed by the voice of Fozzie Bear.