Friday, 20 September 2013

Review: Diary of a Nobody, George & Weedon Grossmith

Diary of a Nobody

George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith

Kindle edition; first published 1892

'Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see -- because I do not happen to be "Somebody" -- why my diary should not be interesting.' 

Diary of a Nobody is exactly that - the private musings of Charles Pooter, an ordinary man recording the minutiae of his daily life. Luckily for the reader, Pooter is often unintentionally funny - his self-importance, constant anxiety, and frustration at everyone around him makes this a very funny book. If only I had been more aware of that fact before reading it on the train to work... As it stands, I was the one trying to suppress a laugh every time one of Pooter's visitors tripped over the door frame. (Must get scraper fixed.)

The events in the diary do not build to a big conclusion - instead, the book is taken up with parties and gatherings, social embarrassments, some disastrous moments with a tin of enamel paint, the return of the Pooters' difficult son Lupin (formerly known as Willie), a less-than-thrilling holiday to Broadstairs, and a round of seances that Pooter first dismisses, then later decides might have some credibility after all. This episode neatly sums up Pooter's contrariness, his desire to fit in that rubs up against his disdain for new-fangled ideas.

Pooter is unintentionally hilarious - the book itself is a comic delight, and destined to make you laugh out loud on crowded public transport.

Overall rating: 8/10

Book source: Free on Kindle.

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