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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2011
I had heard lots of good things about the Diary of a Nobody, but was not really sure I would enjoy this type of work so put off reading it. However, finally I got round to it and found a pleasant, amusing read which, whilst it didn't become one of my all time favourites, I am nevertheless glad I read. This edition contains not only the diary itself, but lots of the original illustrations created by Weedon Grossmith, which are delightful and really help to bring the characters and story to life, as well as giving you an idea of how literature was often presented in the 19th century.

Charles Pooter is a clerical worker who has worked at the same job in the same company for years. He has been overlooked for promotion throughout that time. He decides to keep a diary of his middle-class, run of the mill life. In that diary we meet his long-suffering wife Carrie, his son Willie who renames himself Lupin as he feels his real name is too common, some of his less than respectful colleagues and a number of his friends - most notably Gowing and Cummins.

He makes lots puns/jokes which he thinks are hysterical but are actually awful, and his complete obliviousness to this is actually very amusing. He has social aspirations which he can never quite realise. He is bothered by tradesmen who don't seem to take his social status seriously, and ensuing conflicts are very funny.

The diary is really an early example of the type of observational humour which many of our stand-up comics use today. The diary remains remarkably modern/funny even now, more than 100 years after it was first released. Many of the problems Pooter encounters are so familiar even now. He can't understand his son's use of language or lack of work ethic/social aspirations, his friends eat his food and drink his booze without returning the favour, the plumbing doesn't work and neither does the plumber seem to, he keeps banging his foot on the piece of household junk he persistently means to move but never gets round to, the neighbours throw rubbish into his garden and their kids are rude. He seems to have not an ounce of luck, and he is insulted/embarrassed or unintentionally offends those around him at every turn. And yet he is very likeable as throughout all this he strives to retain his dignity.

Whilst this is no great philosophic commentary on humanity, it does exactly what it sets out to. It gives you an amusing, entertaining glimpse into the ordinary life of an ordinary man. If nothing else, it will give you a good, light, non-challenging read whilst reassuring you that you are not the only one who seems to find normal life so frustrating! Well worth a read.
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on 24 February 2009
The Diary of a Nobody tells in diary form the story of a certain Mr Pooter, clerk by profession and a man of no importance or interest. He is somewhat pompous, dull, and stuffy, with pretensions towards gentility but lacking in social skills and self-awareness. He is quite a ridiculous figure, and one who is taken advantage of by many who he is pleased to call his friends, and mocked by his juniors at work. Additionally, all tradesmen are his nemeses. As he sets this down in his diary, however, Mr. Pooter is often oblivious to his own foolishness and to the impression he creates in others, and in the reader.

Mr. Pooter's son Lupin is the main source of incident in his father's life. He is a youth of high spirits and little respect for his elders, including his father. Lupin undertakes a love affair with a young lady called Daisy Mutlar; he is desperately in love with this young lady , who seems to Mr. Pooter to be of no remarkable attraction or accomplishments. Concurrent with this torrid affair, Lupin finds and loses several jobs, joins an amateur dramatics club and speculates on the stock exchange with his father's money.

Though over 100 years old, this book is still funny for the modern reader. It was written with the contemporary audience in mind but the humour has not dated. As another reviewer noted, Mr Pooter is something of a 19th century David Brent. The style is notably uncluttered and unaffected. It is a short book(145 pages approx. in this edition) and extremely readable. From a relatively uneventful start, it gathers momentum with the arrival of Lupin. Pooter's character broadens somewhat to become a decent everyman, though none the less ridiculous for that. This book ends long before the reader has had enough of the bumbling central character, and is a very pleasant, undemanding read.
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on 11 March 2004
This is a wonderful book - I chuckled, smirked and slapped my head with delighted exasperation (whilst sitting on crowded commuter train - I am something in The City you know) at Pooter and his bewildered stumbling through the cosmic joke of his existence.
In some ways it is an 'old' book, the obsession with class and position drip through every page, with Pooters inept attempts to maintain or enhance his social position. But in many ways it is about the modern world - the alienated nobody, slogging away in an office, thinking he is better than this - when of course he isn't.
So glorious, that I am considering forming a religion based on the exquisite wisdom found inside this slim volume.
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on 23 June 2004
This heart-warming classic is a strong contender for the funniest book ever written. Read it immediately, then buy a second copy as a peace offering for your worst enemy - if it doesn't wipe the snarl off their face, they're a lost cause....
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on 15 January 2008
I honestly never knoew that such an old book could be so hilarious! It's written in such a brilliant way that you can "see" it all happening - it very vivid. I think they should do a film of this! One of the best books I have read for a long time!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 February 2004
This book is a little subtle - if you can't read in between the lines then you won't find it funny. If you can then the subtle humour can't help but amuse you. Pooter is lovable, ridiculous, pompous and trivial - a fully rounded character who is quite oblivious to how most of the world perceives him.
A classic.
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TOP 50 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.
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on 26 August 2003
Diary of a Nobody tells the story (in diary form) of Edwardian clerk Mr Charles Pooter. Mr Pooter is a roaring stereotype of the turn of the century, white-collar, lower-middle class to which he belongs, from his snobbish pomposity and sense of social importance, to his suburban home in Holloway (home: The Laurels). Pooter is a man out of his time, his ideals and attitudes are those of the mid 19th century when his position as clerk would have obtained for him the social respect that Pooter still clearly thinks he deserves. However, the Great Agricultural Depression meant that clerks positions were no longer as secure as they had been 30 years previously, while the spread of education and literacy meant that the rank of office clerk were considerably less exclusive or esteemed. Pooter completely fails to recognise this and much of the books humour stems from his inability to change with the times and his continuing bemusement as to why people he considers beneath him (his grocer, his cleaner, his son's friends) fail to show him the respect Pooter feels he deserves.
While much of the humour could be lost on those unfamilar with the finer points of contemporary Edwardian society, this does not mean that enjoyment of the book is exclusive. Pooter is a genuinely warm, well meaning character, completely recognisible to a 21st century audience. While the peiod may differ, many of the problems which cause Pooter such worry are exactly the same as today. He his constantly vexed by the behaviour of his son (the ridiculously named Lupin), friends (Cummings and Gowings) and his job.
All in all, Diary of a Nobody is an inoffensive yet heart warming tale. While it may seem dated, reading it definitely remains an amusing and worthwile way to spend an afternoon.
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on 29 October 2003
As Ali-docious from London himself says, he must be the only person in the world who didn't find this book funny. Judging by the review he posted, one wonders if Mr Ali isn't the reincarnation of Charles Pooter himself, seeing as he finds nothing amusing about this wonderfully funny piece of Edwardian farce. To Mr Ali: may a hard ball of paper hit you on the back of the neck; may you trip over the footscraper, slip on a cabbage leaf, get a smack in the head during a blackout, and have no-one laugh at your amusing puns. In short..."Hornpipe" to you. I hope you're keeping a diary.
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on 7 February 2013
This is a great book, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

Just don't buy this edition. The cover is a cheap, blurry facsimile of a traditional cover, and the text itself might as well have been printed on a home printer. It is currently sitting on my desk covered up by other books, I'm so embarrassed to be seen with something so shoddy! Amazon published this edition themselves, and it shows how far they have to go before they actually understand the pleasure of a printed book. I really wish I'd checked the 'look inside' a little more carefully before ordering.
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