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review 2014-01-01 19:13
Finished: The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith
The Diary Of A Nobody - George Grossmith,Weedon Grossmith

A couple of months ago I made a huge spreadsheet of books on lists (like 1001 books you must read before you die, NPR Top 100 SFF), in publisher series (like SF Masterworks) and nominees or winners of awards (like the Booker or the Hugo). This list of over 5000 books hopefully helps me choose books to read, both the best of the genres I like (SF, Fantasy, Horror) and good books out of my comfort zone (general fiction). One of the books on that list is 'The Diary of a Nobody' by George and Weedon Grossmith (It's on the 1001 books and the Guardian 1000 lists). The Nobody in this diary is Mr. Pooter. A lower class man living and working in London at the end of the nineteenth century. He thinks he's quite the gentleman, too bad nobody around him feels the same way and his life, as described in the diary, shows that. For example, he and his wife get invited to a ball, and after he's enjoyed the evening it turns out that he has to pay for their food and drinks. Because of this he has no money for the cab-ride home, something he doesn't realize until he has to pay, leading to a fight with the cabbie. The book is pretty funny, both in Mr. Pooter's descriptions (he thinks he is so important) and in the things that happen. You can't help but feel sorry for the man, he tries so hard to rise above his station in life, and nobody around him helps him, they only hinder him. The illustrations by Weedon Grossmith complete the diary. A really nice little book, three out of five stars.

Source: www.divinenanny.nl/home/?p=5191
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review 2013-07-10 00:00
The Diary of a Nobody
The Diary of a Nobody - George Grossmith,Weedon Grossmith I picked up this book thinking it would be short and funny. But beyond the bathtub incident, I didn't really find myself chuckling much at all. It was kind of off-putting that the writer of the diary kept recounting his jokes and witty comments and then telling the reader of the diary that these jokes and witticisms made all their friends laugh. It's not funny if you have to tell the reader it's funny. Then again, this is in keeping with the character's personality of a constant need for validation whether it be from his job or from having his name listed in the newspaper as being in attendance at a fancy party. And god forbid anyone laugh AT him rather than WITH him. In the end, I find the British past time of putting on airs to be dull and pedestrian. Perhaps that's why I didn't enjoy the book. This is a "cult classic" I could have done without.
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review 2013-06-07 14:50
Diary of a Nobody

This is such a fun little read! It was originally published as a serial in Punch magazine in 1892 and despite it's short length it is a masterpiece of comic brevity. Precisely nothing out of the ordinary happens to Mr. Charles Pooter, its the turn of phrase which he uses which had me chuckling to myself. Mr Pooter is so absurdly banal as to call him a characterisation of genius worthy of Dickens himself. I'll leave you with a particularly hilarious extract from the text to give a flavour of the style. Whether we like it or not, we are all a little Pooter...

Gowing began his usual sniffing, so, anticipating him, I said: ‘You’re not going to complain of the smell of paint again?’ He said: ‘No, not this time; but I’ll tell you what, I distinctly smell dry rot.’ I don’t often make jokes, but I replied: ‘You’re talking a lot of DRY ROT yourself.’ I could not help roaring at this, and Carrie said her sides quite ached with laughter. I never was so immensely tickled by anything I had ever said before. I actually woke up twice during the night, and laughed till the bed shook.

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review 2012-12-31 00:00
The Diary of a Nobody - George Grossmith,Weedon Grossmith This brief novel from 1892 is written in the form of diary entries by a clerk in some sort of financial firm who believes his diary will be studied some day in the manner of Samuel Pepys. The joke is that nothing of any particular interest every happens to the character. To give you an idea of the general level of humor at the expense of the narrator, our hero's name is Mr. Pooter.

Grossmith's novel is an interesting contrast with the writings of his more or less contemporary P. G. Wodehouse. Wodehouse made fun of the silliness of the English upper class while Grossmith mocks the pretentious of the English middle class. While Wodehouse is sending up his subjects he clearly considers them charming and funny and therefore his writing is charming and funny, but Grossmith looks down on his subjects and considers them fatuous and boring and as a result his writing is kind of fatuous and boring.
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review 2012-12-27 00:00
The Diary of a Nobody (Oxford World's Classics)
The Diary of a Nobody - George Grossmith,Weedon Grossmith A pleasantly amusing read. Although, if I ever feel the urge to read about awkward misunderstandings, clumsy accidents, embarrassing situations and the not-remarkably-funny jokes, of an unconsciously snobbish, inarticulate, fairly ridiculous, self important nobody in a middle class household I can always flip through my own diary.

Which, quite naturally, leads me to wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Pooter, "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."
Coming soon to a bookshop near you: The Diary of a Yet Another Nobody
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