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The Diary of a Nobody
on 17 April 2016
The edition that this review refers to is published by Wordsworth Classics (1994, 2006) and contains an Introduction and Notes by Michael Irwin. The text was written by George Grossmith, and illustrations done by his brother Weedon Grossmith. This edition contains those original illustrations.
The Diary of a Nobody first appeared in Punch magazine in 1888, with the serialisation concluding in 1889; it first appeared in book form in 1892.
Mr Pooter, a respectable middle-class gentleman, decides to keep a diary; he fails to see why his diary, because he does not happen to be a ‘Somebody’, should not be interesting. He and his wife Carrie settle down in their new home, and their respectable middle-class life continues. The wit in these diary entries is sometimes the slightly feeble wit of Mr Pooter himself, and sometimes something that happens to him despite himself – an embarrassment that he would not have seen, but which others, observing him, would have found funny, and which he records in all serious earnestness in his diary. He faces the usual trials and tribulations of friends and work issues, and of dealing with the household suppliers, and their son, who is, Mr Pooter fears, getting rather above himself in his ideas.
There is a gentle and ongoing raillery throughout these entries, and the reader, in on the joke of it even when Pooter himself fails to see it, can join in on the fun. There are some absolute laugh-out-loud moments in this book, and it is a delightful read; one that you find yourself returning to, to re-read again and again, and discover some new witty ‘Pooterism’ each time.