In this book we revisit the old friends introduced in Three Men in a Boat (minus the dog, unfortunately). They are much older and married now - J. and Harris that is, George is still a bachelor. The three men decided they need a change in their lives yet again. This time they go on a bicycle trip in Germany's Black Forest; hilarity ensures.
The novel failed to repeat the charm and the humor of the first one. People familiar with Three Men in a Boat remember the constant change of subject by the narrator. These side stories were short, funny, and to the point. The first third of this novel has the same structure, but the side stories became bigger and lost their focus somewhat. The humor is still there, but to a lesser degree. After this part a big rambling of the author comes out from nowhere; it goes on and on endlessly. By the time it is over, the narration lost all its steam. It tries to pick up again, but never quite does - not to the level of the first part of the book. The ending was very abrupt, even for this kind of literature.
The major part of the book is taken by author's satirical description of Germany. It is funny at times and some of the prediction are very close to the things to come later, but on the whole it felt like an Englishman was laughing at German culture and customs without having a clue about them and coming out like he is full of it. From what I know I never had a German person among my ancestors (I do have several German friends); I was not offended by this part, but I was feeling kind of awkward.
Is the book worth reading? If you thought the first one was simply OK, the answer is no. If you like the former, then by all means read this one, it still has its moments: the misadventures of the friends on the road which is "impossible to miss" instantly comes to mind. For people wondering what bummel means: it is just a fancy name for a journey.
This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/975026/the-sequel-does-not-get-anywhere-close-to-the-level-of-the-first-book-but-it-has-its-moments