- Paperback: 100 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 24, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1475141831
- ISBN-13: 978-1475141832
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Diary of a Nobody Paperback – February 24, 2013
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"There's a universality about Pooter that touches everybody...fits into the tradition of absurd humour that the British do well, which started with Jonathan Swift and runs through Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear to Monty Python" -- Jasper Fforde Time Out "The funniest book in the world" -- Evelyn Waugh "Pooter himself is as gentle as you could wish, a wonderful character, genuinely lovable. The book is beautifully constructed" -- Andrew Davies Glasgow Herald "One of those rare books that nails a cultural archetype and has won the affection of successive generations" The Times "The funniest book about a certain type of Englishness...there is a whole line of these comic characters like Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army, or Basil Fawlty" --Hugh Bonneville The Times
About the Author
Authors of the classic The Diary of a Nobody.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Of course it is!
And by those standards - or any other - that makes this unassailably one of the World's Great Works. Deserving of a space on Dr. Eliot's Five-Foot Shelf.
Honesty, in real life, is so very painful. The ingeniousness of the Grossmiths - indeed of all great satirists (doubt not, O Reader, that those brothers were) - is in the alchemy, the transmogrification of truth into something not only bearable but enjoyable. Anything that makes us laugh is a privilege and a gift. Something that can make us see ourselves (and most of us are in this book) from its unique perspective, and not only laugh at ourselves but enjoy the experience to the point of bursting, well ... that is truly doing God's work.
Given the times, I should perhaps refrain from words like 'God,' and say that I don't think even the most dedicated Dawkinist could deny that we could all do with being gently brought down a peg or two (starting, imho, with the above-named Deity of the Day). Actually, that's the worst example of anything, ever. Please erase it from your mind. Akin to claiming the Salem witch-hunters were humble arbiters of mirth gladly willing to let themselves be seen in comic light for the common good. The malaise of humourlessness has infected the hitherto often wonderfully funny and balanced camps of the Atheist and the Agnostic. A pity. And a generalization, of course.
Please don't let any references to religion put you off. Really great humour/satire breaks every bond. It's a prism that releases us from our silly little prisons. You can see it spiritually, Darwinistically, or - probably best of all - just simply. Darwinistically: Humour and satire serve an evolutionary purpose in making us fitter to survive, more worthy of carrying on the human race, and making that race better. Simply: this book is so funny, so brilliant, that only by reading it can you see why what started out as bit-pieces in a Victorian magazine still has people in hysterics, and which coined names and phrases that have entered the English language. Spiritually: Nil Desperandum. Be of good cheer. You're quite a ridiculous little atom, really, but so is everyone else, and you're also, all of you, so much more. You're hopeless, inane, inept, wonderful, and sacred, all at once. You're meant to be that way so why waste time being miserable? Go forth and live fully, fearlessly.
The thing is: we can't truly understand the 'wonderful and sacred' part until we've seen and admitted all the rest. The High Priests of Satire, right back to the dear old Greeks, guide us through this. Pseudo-satire is about laughing at others. The Real Thing is about laughing at yourself just as much as you laugh at others. Thus the playing-field is leveled, and with any luck we'll understand - for a little while at least - that pride goeth before a boot-scraper.
How did this turn into a ridiculous hash of thoughts on satire? Because the book's so good I can't do it justice, that's why.
To write about unremittingly dull people in a mock-dull style, and do it in a way that makes you alternately burst out and curl up with laughter. To sustain it for the length of a novel ... to show such affection for the characters even as you're laughing at them and making the readers do the same ... to have not only the gift of almost microscopic perception but to be able to express what you see in an unmistakable light that all can see ... to mirror without ever stooping to mockery ... to imagine comic situations so comic, and yet so life-like, so possible, that they soar into the transcendent ... to delve into a tiny pocket of Victorian England and bring forth Mankind ... if that's not genius, I'm Lilly Langtree.
What could have been dull as ditchwater becomes a magically substantial souffle. No, souffle's not quite right. Savoury? Getting warmer. Right, then, a savoury souffle. Still not right. Light but with a difference. The book's much too good for this sort of fervid little struggle. Poor Mr. P. would be desperate for a bowl of Brown Windsor about now, as I struggle along, the linguistic and critical equivalent of a plastic cup of British Rail tea.
Isn't it really incredibly Pooter-ish of me to try to review this?
The Magic Things that do that entering-the-soul-and-enmeshing I wrote of many rotten paragraphs ago: they'll be different for everyone, I know. But this book has done that within me so strongly, and I feel so gabblingly grateful, that I wanted to try and express that it really is Great-with-a-capital-G (or rather G.G.) enough to do that. The longer I live, the deeper and further 'Diary' goes. The more it seems to share itself with me, and let me be part of it, like a real friend. It will be there for you like Dante's Beatrice, ho yes. (R.I.P. blessed Beachcomber of yore ... but that is another review. 'Oh, Gawd, I hope not' thinks Reader.)
A caveat: at first reading this may not seem much, especially if you're not used to Victorian, or English, humour. Stick with it. Please don't give up. It tends to grow on people. Set it aside for a while - preferably a year or more. Many of its fondest fans were initially under-whelmed. Almost everyone I know who wasn't keen at first has ended up a devotee. It's so gloriously subtle that time and many tastings may be necessary ... but oh, so worth it! I can see how it would be easy to think 'What's so funny about these stultifying creatures and the God-awful lives they lead?' Over time you realize that's the magic. It's not like anything else ever written, and as such is completely unusual and unique - under the pretense of being boring. But boring-on-purpose is the polar opposite of boring, when it's done by writers with joy in the marrow of their bones.
Though in style and subject matter as English as chops, it really is universal. Well - it's English and universal at the same time; part of its genius. Wherever people not quite sure of themselves are to be found, there flourishes the genus Pooter. Plus c'est change, plus c'est le same stress.
I'm not even touching on the timelessness of generational strife within families, except to say that it's in here, too. And perfectly captured.
How unfair that the Victorians are generally thought of as bereft of fun! They were some of history's funniest and greatest prickers of puff. They had quite a bit of material for target practice, granted, but if we dared to be as honest as that age's humourists were, could we honestly say that pomposity, hypocrisy, ridiculousness, suffocating self-serving, blinkered 'righteousness,' dyspeptic zeal, and costive timidity are any thinner on the ground now than then?
An Apocalyptic aside: the difference is that in those straight-laced times, they had both the guts and the ability to launch into all they saw fit. With a few blessed exceptions, most people today are so terrified of Causing Offence (known to kill more per annum than all outbreaks of the Plague added up) that simple, healthy human fun is now a nearly-extinct form of expression. And that's dangerous. The censorship of ages past could be - and nearly always was - circumnavigated by saying or portraying the original idea in a different way, sometimes resulting in even greater works of art. Today's censorship is infinitely more invidious in that it refuses to admit that it is, in fact, censorship.
Ironic that we put such emphasis on health and 'wellness' while letting humour die. The first two depend upon the latter.
Weedon Grossmith's illustrations! There could be no more perfect complement to the text. No one else could have made it all so visible in line. What Turner did for the sea, W.G. does for 'Diary.'
Please don't let my gush keep you from reading one of the most delightful books ever written. I assure you it's much better than I make it seem. Loving 'not wisely but too well' - it's what I do best, I'm afraid.
One reviewer mentioned that you really do come to care about the characters, and think about their lives post-book. I found that so very touching and absolutely true. That's a remarkable achievement for a comic writing, and proof that it must be read.
And so I leave the last word with the above-mentioned critic, who made such an excellent point without wasting masses of your time, which could be spent reading this happy book.
The edition by Wordsworth Classics, besides being a steal at the price, is splendid in every respect. The footnotes are somewhat overattentive for me, but will serve most readers very well; it is far better to have a footnote too many than a footnote too few. The introduction by Professor Michael Irwin (University of Kent at Canterbury) is *excellent* (and should be read, like most introductions, after completion of the main contents).
I heartily endorse the sentiments expressed on the back cover: "If you don't recognize yourself as some point in 'The Diary' you are probably less than human. If you can read it without laughing aloud you have no sense of humour."