Review of ‘Three Men on the Bummel’ by Jerome K Jerome

The title of this book sounds like it could be rude, but ‘bummel’ is a ‘stroll’ in German, or in this book a meandering tour of Germany. First published in 1900, it’s a sequel to Three Men in a Boat and is not nearly as funny. Rambling on about stereotypical German people, the narrative becomes tiresome and the humour is rather hit and miss.

Cover of Three Men on the Bummel, showing the men on bicycles.

The premise of the story, if you could call it a story, is that the three men decide they need a holiday. A third of the way through the book, they actually begin the holiday, a cycling tour of continental Europe. Various mishaps occur. I remember enjoying the first book, so this one seemed a let-down. There wasn’t a dog with the travellers this time, which is just as well, because the narrator has a cruel attitude towards animals. I’m sure there is plenty of historical significance to be found in this book, such as English perspectives on foreigners and the fashion for bicycling.

In summary, the book had its moments, but generally I didn’t like it. One of my Project Gutenberg random reads.

Leave a Reply