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on 4 November 2004
How brilliant is this! I am married to the stereotype Grumpy Old Man and bought this for him to read on holiday.2 weeks ago. However, when it arrived I flicked through it, started to read and couldn't put it down! It's a great book to dip into when the mood takes you - it made me laugh out loud and my husband had to admit that most of it sounded as though he had penned it himself! A great stocking filler for that Grumpy Old Man in your life!!
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on 25 June 2006
I didn't watch the TV series so I thought this was just going to be a humerous read. However, there is a little (OK only a little) depth behind the book. Yes, it's funny to relate to the author's ranting, but it also makes you realise the context of some of your frustrations with the world. It's OK to be a grumpy man; it's a phase of life when you realise the world isn't as good a place as you were brought up to hope for.

I read this book at the same time as I was reading "You can't afford the luxury of a negative thought", and this provided a nice counterpoint. To be honest I got more out of grumpy old men than out of that 'self-help' book.

So, funny AND self-help: what more could you want for in a book?
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on 16 June 2006
Having only caught and enjoyed the occasional snippet of an episode of this TV program I was pleased to see the accompanying book, and quickly and eagerly snapped it up.
For the first fifty or so pages the book delivered exactly what I expected it to, that being sensible but frustrating observations on everyday life through the eyes of a mature, intelligent and discontented man. This is the kind of thing that makes my thoughts and hang ups seem justifiable, in that I am not alone. However the problem is that the ranting becomes predictable and musty. We have all heard the complaints about the school run mothers, the tattoo enthusiasts and the cell phone obsessive. I would have liked the gripes to be a little fresher. My other slight complain is that I could not relate to some of the situations described. I guess it's difficult to please all of the people and to cover every life style.
I think my problem may have been that I expected too much. I wanted it to support more of my own pet hates, and it didn't. I think it would call for a much weightier volume to achieve that!
As a light and amusing read I recommend it. If you don't like it then you will at least have something else to complain about.
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on 4 January 2005
This, of course, is the official tie-in publication to the two BBC TV series, the second of which finished just before Christmas.
Contrary to the impression given by the cover photographs of Messrs Smith, Peel, Wakeman and McGrath on the cover this is not just a repeat of the script and interviews shown on the TV programmes; in fact the celebrity quotations from their interviews are used very sparingly, as headings more than anything else. Instead this is writer/producer Stuart Prebble's more personal thesis on his own experience as a grumpy old man - as you read it it's not Geoffrey Palmer's voice you hear at all and it's not intended to be (but in my case it could have been Arthur Smith's).
After the introductory chapters as to how the series came to fruition, and the technical definition of grumpies and their likely early life experiences, the bulk of the book, "So What Are We Grumpy About?" takes us through an average day in Prebble's life and is an extended rant about everything in that timespan that annoys him, from the BBC World Service that he tunes into when he wakes up in the early hours of the morning and can't get back to sleep, through such things as getting to work, parking, shopping, DIY, the nanny state, cinemas, going out to dinner parties, and insomnia at the end of the day. He is considerate enough to devote a short chapter at the end to ponder the effects of his grumpiness on his friends and family.
Reading this you find yourself agreeing with a lot of what he feels - in fact if it weren't so true it would be very funny. As it was I ended up feeling slightly guilty and embarassed for him, actually not something that I felt watching the thing on TV. There the bile being spent was enlivened by the celebrity interviews (even Will Self's), but in cold black print it became a bit indigestible, so I couldn't read it all in one go, a feat more understandable with the like of "The Decline And Fall..." rather than the 200 pages of "Grumpy Old Men".
Still, this is a worthwhile purchase and, as I observed when reviewing the "unofficial" publication with a similar title last year, it is especially useful to anyone younger than the arbitrary 35-50 year-olds that are supposed to be GOMs, so that they realise what irritates us so, and perhaps can guard against following suit. And at the end of it all at least Prebble, and Arthur Smith, recognise what pains they are - what they really can't stand is grumpy old men moaning on and on about everything around them!
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on 3 November 2004
Stuart Prebble (author of this official handbook) is truly the uber-grump of our age and his book made me laugh out loud on several (rather public) occasions, shout "Yes! Yes! Yes!" in total agreement on several others and has sent me straight back out to the bookshop to buy several more copies for my Grumpy Old Friends and Relations. This is a fantastic present for grumps of all ages and is a perfect reflection of the imperfect world in which we live. I, for one, can't wait for the sequel. Get writing, Stuart ~ your country needs you!
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on 17 October 2004
Having seen the T.V. series, falling into the age catagory covered by this book and being somewhat of a 'grump' myself I decided to wander out into the annoying world of the early 21st Century and purchase this book.
Instead of an ammusing and diverting read by a fellow grump I found a little book full of one mans miserable day. Unfortunately there's a difference between humour and just moaning on-and-on, page-after-page about how you hate your life, how you hate everyone elses life and how you hate current society. In a very few short pages it gets tiring and wearing, infact, just the sort of cheap and quick 'cash-in' book that really annoys us grumps!
For a funny look on things that annoy people 'of our age' get the book of the same title by David Quantick.
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on 7 September 2009
It is a good witty rant for anyone infuriated with political correctness and the modern-world (like myself) but do you ever get the feeling you are being conned? We now have, in book form: the Secret Diary; the Secret Diary of a Grumpy Old Women; Grumpy Old Couples; Grumpy Old Drivers; Grumpy Old Workers; Grumpy Old Holidays. The series has been released on DVD and Audiobook. Tat has been produced such as baseball caps and mugs and we haven't even arrived at the unofficial stuff yet. Pebble, in this book, poses the question: whenever are you going to wear a Christmas themed tie? I will throw the question back at him and suggest: whenever are you going to want to wear a baseball cap with 'Grumpy Old Man' on the front?

The Original series was hilarious and deserves to occupy any DVD shelf. These days however, the formulaic product 'Grumpy Old Men' is beginning to resemble the materialistic culture the Grumps so deride.
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on 27 December 2004
I was a bit disappointed by this book - the author comes over as rather more bitter than grumpy, and not nearly so humorous as the celebs featured in the TV programme. Too much ranting and not enough irony.
P.S. nice bit of pedantry with "culs-de-sac", but _nul points_ for the obviously wrong definition of "zero-sum game".
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on 5 October 2009
As per the title , life is too short . What I read of the book was mildly amusing but really there are better things to do with your time than listen to other people's rantings .
If you can sit through the whole of a TV episode then you may be able to delve deeper into the book than I did , but I really found it hard going and quite depressing really .
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on 12 May 2009
I'm a man but I'm not old, yet I found myself agreeing with so much of what was written in here. Hilariously funny and witty yet at the same time painfully true in places.
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