Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Diary of a Nobody

Author: George and Weedon Grossmith
Publisher: Vintage
Published: 2010 (Originally 1892)
RRP: £5.99
  Everyone knows a Charles Pooter.  He is a lower middle class man working as a clerk in the city.  He is respectable, he has illusions of grandeur and fancies himself quite the comedian.  He decides one day that he will keep a diary for a year detailing everything that happens in his life.  He believes it will be an important record of his life, instead it ends up the trivial whining of a middle-aged man. 

  Although there are few real laugh out loud moments in the book, it never ceases to be amusing. I was not bored on a single page, my favourite moments being when he repeats jokes he makes when he believes no one noticed them (although it’s just that they aren’t funny).  The relationships are completely believeable, the solid marriage he has with Carrie and the friendships he has with the loveable characters of Mr Cummings and Mr Gowings (names which when first reading them, really did make me laugh, such is my sense of humour!).  The key events in the diary tend to centre on his son Lupin, who is not everything Charles expected him to be, he is loud, confident, funny and compulsive, everything Charles is not.  Furthermore, Lupin finds himself in not only work troubles but also in a mess with love.

  It’s hard to believe that this book was first published in 1892 the people seem like real modern people.  That may sound ridiculous but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has assumed that people living over one hundred years ago were prude and boring.  This book is a glimpse into the real world of the late-Victorian era.  It accurately describes the daily life, the jobs, the clothes, the food but it says much more about the people.  Englishmen really haven’t changed as much as we imagine.  A funny, warm and heartfelt read, it’s clear how this book has survived this long and I’m sure it has centuries left in it before the real nature of people change.

Rating: 7/10