“Three Men on the Bummel” by Jerome K. Jerome

A sequel to Three Men in a Boat, this book follows our eponymous heroes who are now older and, supposedly, wiser, on a holiday to Germany. I loved Three Men In A Boat when I read it earlier in the year, and wasn’t expecting this sequel to be as good. In fact, I thought it was by far the more entertaining book.

This seemed much more like a novel than the first book, where the author had tried to include local history in to the narrative. The three men are now older and decide to take a bicycle ride through Germany, and this time we get their side of the story about how they get on together (or don’t) as well as the various escapades they find themselves in along the way of their journey. We learn about the family life (now two of them are married with children) and get a glimpse of to society of the times through their eyes.

It was funny! I smiled almost all the way through – there’s something about the contemporary language of that era that makes me chuckle anyway, but knowing it was written in that period makes it feel even more real and authentic, and gives it an extra level of humour.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the final chapter. After having seemingly made a very definite decision to make this the story of the three men, the conclusion is an essay on the modern Germany of the time, which was dry and felt a let down after a very funny, very charming story of three friends.

Apart from that it was very, very entertaining and great fun.


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