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The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke Paperback – April 10, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Internet has been around long enough as a venue for works like the diary presented here, which debuted online, for such works to have lost some of their mystique. Still, Nissel deserves her moment in the sun. As a struggling college student at the University of Pennsylvania, she decided that to keep her mind off her empty stomach, she would keep a journal of her days and post it on the Net. The result is a series of biting, funny entries about the evil atmosphere of check-cashing offices, the horror of being two cents short for the grocery bill and the joys of making friends who buy dinner. Her wry thoughts about being flat broke will appeal to readers who enjoyed Bridget Jones's exploits and similarly sparky works. Nissel is no fictional Bridget, however, obsessing about weight and cigarettes. She's a city girl who knows the exact price of ramen noodles and the pain of counting pennies. Although she occasionally recycles material, she rants with aplomb, using colorful anecdotes (her elderly landlord comes for the rent and ends up falling asleep on the couch) to pull the reader further into her impoverished reality. She doesn't delve into the actual fear and pain associated with poverty, but views her time of hunger with amusement, like a financial misadventure that she always knew would end. Charming and sharp, Nissel's diary will be relished by anyone who's ever been a student and remembers those ramen noodles. (Apr.)Forecast: Already a palpable presence on okayplayer.com, a hip-hop Web site she cofounded that receives 500,000 visitors a day, Nissel has a solid base constituency. With a blurb from Chris Rock, a five-city author tour, stickering campaigns in several key cities and a low cover price, this paperback original is poised for success.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"...the deft way Nissel transforms the ordeals of poverty into funny, reassuring anecdotes makes it an almost enviable condition." -- Mademoiselle Magazine, April 2001

"Her searing laugh-out-loud commentary makes this a must have-if you're broke yourself, get it from the library." -- Honey Magazine, April 2001

"What makes Nissel's book shine is her unsentimental prose and wicked sense of humor." -- USA Today, April 12, 2001
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679783571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679783572
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Carey on February 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a University of Pennsylvania senior, Angela Nissel is totally and utterly broke - not the 'oh, I'm broke because I only have $100 in the bank but I can pay all my bills' broke but really broke. Her 'diary' recounts her misadventures trying to make it through the year without starving or getting evicted. Her cleverness, sense of humour and pretty bizarre experience make 'The Broke Diaries' an incredibly entertaining read, one to be savored and certainly not to be missed.
The book is structured as an actual diary, with entries on various days describing Angela's latest battle to eat/ survive/ pay her bills/ get textbooks and so forth. A lot of what she endures will be familiar to many college students and graduates, but a lot of it is simply amazing, both in terms of what Angela has to go through and some of the very strange people she encounters. Even as she struggles to get by, Angela maintains her wicked sense of humor, and that comes through in all of her 'entries,' as do her keen perceptions about poverty, human nature, and so forth. Some of what happens to her seems unbelievable except in the context of everything else that she's enduring - even the pretty crazy stuff seems normal in her world and in her chatty, informal, funny narrative voice.
I'm very glad that Angela survived her senior year and that she is no longer broke, as much as I did enjoy her tales of woe. 'The Broke Diaries' would make rewarding, entertaining, fun and funny reading for almost anybody. Just don't forget to pay attention to some of her astute perceptions about poverty.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Reine des Coeurs VINE VOICE on May 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
After perusing the aisles at Borders for hours (hey, I was broke why else would I look but not buy), I came upon this book and the title grabbed me by the collar and made me open it up. After reading several pages and finding that I couldn't stop, my thriftiness gave me permission to buy this book, thereby enhancing my own *personal brokeness*.
Bravo Angela for writing such an incredibly realistic book for those of us who have lived off Ramen noodles, flirting with the utility guys and enjoying $5 cabaret nights (including meal and transportation)!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Megan M. Jordan on April 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Okay, no free samples, but you could learn how to get free other free stuff... This book is a riot. Incredibly easy to read, but not simple, pandering, or dull. The passages just flow; before you know it, you've completed the entire book in one sitting. I can't imagine having had to read it on the net and actually be forced to WAIT each day for a new entry. Her style is conversational and inviting, to say the least. The best part is that she never makes you feel pity for her brokeness; this is not one of those sappy poor-is-me--search-for-the-zen message books. It is a hilarious priviledge to be let in on her life for a time- thank you, Angela! To the rest of you, go buy this book right now and stop feeling sorry for your broke selves. Hey, broke can be hip if you put the right spin on it. Learn how: buy this book today.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Meesha on March 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book purely because of the cover, and found it an absolutely terrific read. For anyone who's ever been out of a job, simply spent too much money, this book is the one for you. (Go sit in the bookshop & read it that way!)

There's quite a few things in this book that are familiar to me, and to many other readers too. Being 2 cents short when you're buying something was the main thing, oh my god, that happens to me so often! (Which is why I use my card so often.) There's so much other enlightening moments in this, being blacklisted, having people look over your shoulder when you're writing, going on dates just so you can eat...

Everyone should read this book. Without a doubt.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Harleston on September 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book rocked! I read the one star review by the 15 year old and maybe if you've never been underpaid, fired, a victim of the economy or ate ramen noodles for weeks while in school, you wouldn't laugh at this book, but I CRACKED UP.
This book was a breathtaking break from the usual romance and mystery novels. There's not another book like it. It manages to give tips and tell stories in a writing style that makes you feel like the author is your best friend.
I enjoyed it and will urge all of my formerly broke friends to buy it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Wow! What a novel concept...take your tales of woe about being a broke college student and turn them into what just might end up being a best-selling book.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent, and although it reads like Mad magazine at times, Angela Nissel's debut novel, The Broke Diaries is a fascinating non-fictional novel about one sistas struggles to survive financially during her tenure at the University of Pennsylvania. She was bright enough to be selected to attend an Ivy League school now she has to be smart enough to survive the financial challenges. Written in a witty and hilarious tone, the reader witnesses up close and personal Nissel's senior year as a broke college student at a prestigious university. We live vicariously via Nissel as she experiences her first check cashing joint, sweet-talking the utility company man, using super glue to fix her car and scheming to get free books for her classes...actually securing anything FREE is an adventure in itself. Her antics will make you LOL, say "no she didn't do that" and for some we will reminisce about our prior years as a broke college student. Although I must caution that some of the antics in this book should not be taken seriously-after all to be a broke student is one thing-to be a broke student in jail is an entirely different manner.
The Broke Diaries is an entertaining description of Angela Nissel's life as a college student and a guide book I recommend for any student going off to college this fall.
Reviewed by Yasmin
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