Buy Used
£1.78
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Tree Savers
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: A used book that is in good, clean condition. Your item will be picked, packed and posted FREE to you within the UK by Amazon, also eligible for super saver delivery
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Unfortunates Paperback – 1 Jul 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 1 Jul 2003
£3.19 £0.01
Audio CD, Audiobook
"Please retry"
£23.75
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st edition (1 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184115315X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841153155
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,616,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Poppy Minkel is the daisy fresh, naively witty star of Laurie Graham's The Unfortunates. Poppy is a mustard heiress with crinkle-cut hair, sticky-out ears and a nutty Jewish family. When Pa goes down with the Titanic, Ma decides Poppy was destined to be the companion of her old age. Instead Thoroughly Modern Poppy, blessed with 'savoir faire and unusual beauty' sashays into 1920s New York in search of generation-defining moments.

In a series of flashbulb-bright adventures Ms. Minkel acquires two husbands, two children, and a variety of breathless accomplishments--designer, aviatrix, gallerista. Poppy Minkel is determined to live up to her mantra: 'I'm modern and fun-loving and rich.' It's not all ditzy fun though, Poppy may glide along the surface of things admirably, but Laurie Graham's deft prose gets to the heart of things. The loss, grief, ignorance, and emotional vulnerbality that surround the events of the Second World War play in devasating counterpoint to Poppy's self-centred aplomb. Her breezy resilence allows her to deal with a drunken, violent first husband, with his haikus and his "glancing blows" and pretty much ignore anything else of consequence. It's only towards the end of the novel when faced with family tragedy that her regret slips in and "placed the heaviest weight around my heart". The Unfortunates is deliciously Nancy Mitford,--glinting with irony, sadness and humour. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Praise for THE UNFORTUNATES:
'It is a marvel. Graham's style is riveting, hilarious one-liners falling in quick succession.' Anthea Lawson, The Times

'My unputdownable book of the year. I laughed and cried.' Shereen Nanjiani, Sunday Herald

'An irrepressible adventurer, Poppy is a comic combination of innocence and pluck, but although this is a brisk, breezy read, it's also a novel with serious bite.' Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail

'Laurie Graham is a writer with a remarkably malleable comic voice.' Alex Clark, The Guardian

'Fresh, funny and smart, a novel that reels from the Titanic to jazz age New York.’ Observer

‘This wildly funny novel…is often on the brink of being a wildly tragic one.’ The Sunday Times

‘A compelling read’ Hello!

‘Poppy Minkel is a wonderfully original, naive character, and Graham injects her with the same eccentric humour all her protagonists share, making it impossible not to love her. A fantastic, engrosssing read.’ Glamour

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book for a book circle of which I'm a member. I had never heard of Laurie Graham or this book, so I came to it with an open mind. What I found was a modern heroine - Poppy Minkel - who takes us through the 20th Century in her own fashion. A modern woman born into a Victorian world, she manages to escape the restrictions of her mother Dora and Aunt Fish, thanks mainly to the First World War, and never looks back. Although not necessarily the greatest of mothers herself, Poppy lives a rich and varied life but is always reduced to the status of a child by her family, even when she is middle-aged.
I would recommend this book to anyone and I'm sure it is one of the few books that I won't tire of re-reading.
And as for Melton Mowbray - I've lived there and it can be like that even in the 21st Century!
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on 16 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
I picked this up as a last minute holiday book never having read any of Laurie Graham's previous novels, what a great choice! I laughed out loud at some of Poppy's antics and insights and finished the book in two days. It is one of the few books I've read that I agree with all the good reviews on the back page - highly recommeded.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Having read 'Perfect Meringues' by Laurie Graham, and not being too impressed (there seems to be no point to the novel), I was dubious about this one. What a pleasant surprise! I adored it. Poppy Minkel is an outrageous character with an incredibly dry wit which had me regularly laughing out loud. I wanted it to go on forever. I'll have to read 'Future Homemakers of America' now - can't wait to get my hands on it!
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to reading this as Laurie Graham was recommended to me. I found the characters bland and uninteresting and I struggled to finish the book. Perhaps her other books are a lot better!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought The Unfortunates for my wife.

She really enjoyed The Future Homemakers of America and wanted another Laurie Graham.

After reading it almost non-stop she declared it as, "Even better than The Future Homemakers of America!"

What do I know? Nothing!

What does she know? If you like Laurie Graham you'll probably love this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Throughout the first chapter I kept thinking this was going to turn out to be a pointless bit of chick-lit and I couldn't see where it was going. I'm at the age where I don't usually stick with books if they don't grab me fairly quickly but the witty, sly humour kept me at it and I can't praise this book enough - I'm buying a copy for my mother. By the second chapter the narrative really took off, and I was well and truly hooked.

The story centres around Poppy, a self-centred, energetic heiress who is lacking in finer sensitivities to others and whose hedonistic lifestyle results in her emotional neglect of those close to her. The book is full of characters in Poppy's life - characterised so well that you don't have difficulty remembering who's who - and spans a whole lifetime and two world wars (which are not really dwelt upon much).

This is a hard book to categorise but it is not chick lit so don't be put off by the synopsis. This is a really good book, it has humour, sadness and an insight into personalities like Poppy's and I found it hard to put down - every chapter left me hungry for 'what happens next?'. I loved it! By the way, I read this after reading the author's other book 'Mr Starlight' which I picked up at a library table sale and I couldn't put that down either. It's a rare writer who manages to elicit sympathy for a character that you have loathed for most of the book. Brilliant stuff.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on 20 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this and thought it was wonderful. Laurie Graham is an author I want to read more of. I have also read future homemakers of America which was great as well. I still can't decide if I love or loathe Poppy Minkel..........
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This started out as a fluff piece, which was just what I needed at the time. The era was pre WWI, a time I have always been fascinated by, the place NYC, another fascination of mine. So what could go wrong?

This book spans five decades and follows the characters of one family. This would be fine if the main character was at all interesting or interested. She starts out to be a spunky fighter. But She's spoiled, selfish and just darn right cruel at times. I kept hoping to see some spark, some sense of humanity, some sense of growth but I really didn't. As she aged, I still thought of her as a 16 year old.

I have to admit the writing kept me in the book, and kept me turning the pages for the first 2/3 of the book. The part that should have ended the book didn't; she kept going on for a few more decades.. People die, more people are born, life goes on yada yada. Not much to really care for, and I felt I really wasted my time. What was the point of this?
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback