When I flicked through the book, I thought it was full of made up musings of a fictional character living in Victorian England. Actually, the book is a series of real essays that the author wrote in the eighteenth century. Jerome K. Jerome was an English humourists, who is more known for his book Three men and boat; The Idle thoughts of an idle fellow was his first book.
The Idle thoughts of an Idol fellow are essays on common topics love, idleness, being broke, the weather, eating and drinking and other topics. There’s no advice offered just cynical and humorous observation.
I think the essays are still relatable to this generation. I could relate to Jerome’s essay, ‘Being hard up’ (being broke) because this week I had little money and had to stretch a dollar. Jerome wrote about how having little money can help you appreciate what you have.
It is wonderful what an insight into domestic economy being really hard up gives one. If you want to find out the value of money, live on fifteen shillings a week, and see how much you can put by for clothes and recreation. You will find out that it is worthwhile to wait for the farthing change, that it is worthwhile to walk a mile to save a penny, that a glass of beer is a luxury to be indulged in only at rare intervals, and that a collar can be worn for four days.
Try it just before you get married. It will be excellent practice. Let your son and heir try it before sending him to college. He won’t grumble at a hundred a year pocket money then.
’The Idle thoughts of an Idle Fellow: ‘Being Hard Up” p. 42’
The only thing I could gripe about Jerome’s essays is how he portrays women. I think he likes women but he writes about them being silly, temperamental and incapable of being sensible. I prefer to read stories so at times I did find the essays boring.