Top critical review
on 25 November 2017
Having read the full diaries, I was rather disappointed with Tomalin's portrayal of Pepys. Naturally it is heavily reliant on the diaries for material, and is fleshed out with Tomalin's own perspective on Pepy's behaviour and motivations. Unfortunately she applies 21st century morality to the world of the 17th century, which doesn't work very well - it just comes over as judgemental and carping. I feel as if the character portrayed is not the one that comes over from the diaries and letters. Pepys was humorous, fearlessly self-analytical, and fabulously human - something that doesn't come over in this book. I really enjoyed Tomalin's biography of Dickens, but better to read Arthur Bryant's entertaining biographies of Pepys. As a woman, I find Bryant rather misogynistic in his handling of the female characters (particularly Pepy's intelligent and feisty wife Elizabeth), but much more accurate when it comes to Sam himself.