Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

TOP 100 REVIEWERon 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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 26 September 2015
Beneath its matter-of-fact surface there is more going on in this book than seems likely from its early pages. Quite apart from its sociological interest with its emphasis on the rise of the white collar class – note that the Pooters have a servant – it is an engrossing study in human relationships. Work, home, family and friendship are all under the microscope, none emerging with much sense of enhancing the quality of life. Pooter is in reality an isolated figure even though he insists on being wilfully blind to this fact. The humour, a mixture of the self–effacing and an attempt to release feelings otherwise so often pent up, is crucial to the tone of the book, yet often masks a good deal of sadness, partly tied up with the obsession with social niceties. I found the diary amusing rather than uproariously funny in its portrait of its class and age.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 May 2017
In an age where just about anyone attracting a modicum of ‘celebrity status’ feels compelled to tell the world about their life history, it’s a delight to come across a novel which parodies such pretensions. The Diary of a Nobody was written with the deliberate intent of mocking the diaries and memoirs that proliferated in the late 1880s. George Grossmith, an actor, and his artist brother Wheedon took the view that the British reading public had surely had enough of diaries written by people who were ‘Somebodies’ and it was high time attention was given to the ‘nobodies’ of this world.

The Diary of a Nobody records the daily events in the lives of this London clerk, his wife Carrie and their feckless son Willie (who insists on being called Lupin). When the Diary begins Charles and Carrie have just moved into a six-roomed house in the Holloway district of London. The new residence is meant to signify that the Pooters are on their way up the social ladder. Charles in fact has a keen sense of his own importance and sees this move as his entry into a more refined social circle. Over the course of 15 months he records the many small pleasures, modest social occasions and acquaintances that make up his life.

The Diary is a litany of mishaps and misadventures. Every time Charles gets an opportunity he thinks will enable him to shine, he makes some kind of mistake which proves socially embarrassing. Though more than 100 years old, it’s surprising how contemporary some of the pre-occupations of this novel feel.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 March 2013
"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 a 'Somebody' - why my diary should not be interesting."

And thank goodness that Charles Pooter, ordinary clerk and Victorian family man decided to follow this course. The humour is gentle but had me in stitches at times and is still as funny today as it must have been for its contemporary audience of Punch readers in the 1890s. One is torn between feeling desperately sorry for Mr Pooter (and recognising that we can all be impossibly pompous and self-important at times) and laughing out loud at the many slights and injuries he receives at the hands of tradesmen and his fellow clerks. When William (now self-styling himself by his middle name "Lupin") arrives on the scene, the action picks up and the scene is set for much more hilarity as Lupin disregards his father and his old-fashioned ways and sets off on a new-fangled modern course which Pooter can only believe will lead to disgrace.

In some ways this is a comedy, but it is also a window into Victorian society from the point of view of the middle-class working man and his family. We have all the fads of the Victorian age (spiritualism makes an interesting appearance with even the sceptical Pooter getting caught up in the seances his wife and her friend start hosting) and a representation of the conflict between the thirst for progress and the concern inherent within this about "dangerous" ideas which epitomises this age. Pooter is half-pleased, half-concerned when he notes that his son Lupin has some of the same traits as the progressive Huttle: "I feel proud to think Lupin does resemble Mr. Huttle in some ways. Lupin, like Mr Huttle, has original and sometimes wonderful ideas; but it is those ideas that are so dangerous. They make men extremely rich or extremely poor. They make or break men. I always feel people are happier who live a simple unsophisticated life. I believe I am happy because I am not ambitious."

This is a lovely book - the office scenes read a bit like "The Victorian Office" with Pitt the waggish junior clerk playing the part of Tim Canterbury to Pooter's David Brent. I so enjoyed reading it and it was much, much too short for me.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 August 2016
This is a brilliant story,
worth reading as it is a classic and it is very funny.
one of the funniest books you will read.
Although the action takes place a long time ago it is very relevant to today.

Your have probably heard of a couple of the people as they are often mentioned on tv and quiz programs.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 December 2017
This is a good read. I heard great praise for this book on radio 4 and thought I'd try it. I wouldn't say it was lol, maybe I just wasn't in a great mood when I read it. It's an easy read though, so you could just read a few pages and easily get back into it. For me it was over too soon. An entertaining book
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 January 2014
In the first couple of chapters I didn't really notice it was a book that was supposed to make you laugh. My fault, though; it will start to grow on you afterwards.
Once you dive into it you start to understand it and, of course, all the embarrassing and comical situations between Mr. Pooter and his friends; but Lupin was able to annoy me now and then. There are some caricatures it it as well, which were obviously puns of some society spheres contemporary to the author. Those puns still apply to nowadays, sadly.
Nevertheless it's a book that is supposed to make you laugh, and it's very easy to read, apart from some little vocabulary.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 June 2013
I reread this classic as result of the connection with Roger Mortimer's Dear Lupin, Letters to a Wayward Son, Lupin being the name of the son of Charles Pooter, the 'nobody' of the title. Pooter is one of literature's great comic characters and the book has many scenes that make you laugh out loud. But like all great comic characters he is presented subtly. Pompous, platitudinous, accident-prone, subserviant to his employer, maintaining respectability on the fringe of lower middle class poverty, he is at the same time principled, decent and finally loveable.

This is a great book now publishes at minimal cost. Make sure you read it.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 June 2014
This book gives a fascinating social historical picture of life in Victorian Britain for the middle classes. Mr Pooter is a bit of a pompous berk at times but aren’t we all? Especially when writing our own private diaries. It gives a warm and pleasant view of marriage. It’s timeless in that Mr and Mrs Pooter think their child Lupin is behaving in a way which is too modern. This is a charming book, with much we can relate to today plus a few things which need googling.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 December 2013
This is one of those charming books that isn't great literature but is very well written. 'Nobody' is a middle aged, respectable clerk with a healthy respect for the social order. He is often baffled by modern attitudes, particularly those of his son, Lupin. Nevertheless, he perseveres in his respectable life, enduring the trials and tribulations of ironmongers, butchers and laundresses, and everything works out almost as expected.

It's a nice commentary on lower middle class life at the turn of the 20th century. It has some very funny moments and is very enjoyable. I ended up wishing it was a bit longer!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse