The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke
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The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  986 ratings  ·  170 reviews
�People always say I�m going to look back on these days and laugh � why put it off?�

When Angela Nissel found herself struggling financially while in college, instead of sulking, she decided to entertain herself by creating an online journal that chronicled her day-to-day trials and tribulations. Written with humor and intelligence, her �Broke Diary� quickly fou...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by Villard
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DCPL's Teen Humor Booklist
28th out of 69 books — 138 voters
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2nd out of 19 books — 10 voters


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Community Reviews

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Ciara
i have very mixed feelings about this book. on the one hand, i like reading about how people scrape by with no income, & some of the problems that befall nissel are illustrative of the way the cycle of poverty keeps people down. for example, there's a story about how nissel went to new york city to visit a friend. he was late picking her up at the train station, so she found a phone booth that allowed her to make calls with her debit card. she assumed that the call just wouldn't connect if s...more
Dot
Jun 07, 2007 Dot rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who are no strangers to poverty
This is pretty funny overall; it's a collection of diary entries written by a poor college student in Philly. The author now writes for Scrubs, so her days of brokeness are probably over.

The bad: She won't shut up about going to Penn and how Ivy League she is. Some of us who managed to somehow not be Ivy League grads are pretty darn smart and capable. I know this because I was accepted to Columbia but declined to go to my non-Ivy alma mater, and I don't think I could've gotten a more brilliant,...more
Vicki
This book was a go-to reread for me in college. It's very funny stories about being a poor college student - particularly at an Ivy League school, surrounded by more affluent students - told in short journal entries (that I believe were first blog entries). It always cheered me up about being broke myself, because although I did have a few ridiculous poor person moments, nothing can top what this woman went through.

Weird sidenote: when I grabbed a new copy (gave my old one away) to read again,...more
Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
1.5 stars. Not sure how hilarious got thrown in the title, this book didn't really do it for me. It was ok at best and I thought about laughing a few times but it didn't happen. Ang is a broke college student who can hardly afford ramen noodles and she damn near steals them because she is a couple cents short. If she put all the time and effort of scheming free food, looking through free ads and all other desperate attempts to survive she would've had the time to apply and find a better job with...more
Bookish Jen
I wrote this book review a while ago for an ancient blog and even submitted it to an old editor of mine. It didn’t get published for some reason so I decided to dust it off, polish it up a a bit and publish it here. Enjoy!

Once upon a time I made a solid, dependable middle class income. I could easily pay my bills, rent, and other assorted necessary amenities. I could also afford luxuries like monthly massages, nights on the town, concert tickets, and fashionable additions to my closet.

Well, thos...more
Dana Van
I have probably read this book now about 20 times or so in the last decade and I still can't read it in public without looking like a total loon cracking up in the corner of Starbucks or wherever! The book started out as a blog Angela kept in college to try and find the humor in her broke-ness to keep her from getting down about it all. The right person found it along the way and got her published. And I am so glad they did! You have to read this book!
Cheryl
This was read when I wasn't a member, and while some parts may not be appropriate to read due to language (nothing worse that what you would hear on the bus). It was an excellent book, and far more entertaining than many other books. However, you would have had to be REALLY broke to understand and appreciate it, as opposed to the people who are "broke" and couldn't afford to get 2 mani-pedis this month.
J. Michelle
This book was hilarious!!! It's set in the form of a diary (as the title suggests). This diary could be the diary of any other female college student who hasn't been fed a silver spoon. I loved every bit of it, one of the few books I could stand reading more than once.
Rachel Wagner
I have heard Nissel on NPR and she's much funnier in person than in this book. Also, it might be kind of insulting to any person that has to deal with serious poverty. It treats it as kind of a joke.
Jon
The girl is hilarious.
mainly just some hilarious stories, no more no less. she thinks she's cute, and funny, and she is, really.
Graceann
Aug 10, 2011 Graceann rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: formerly broke people
Shelves: memoir, humor
I thought I had been broke. I've had to choose between medication and food, and I've shared meals with people I dislike because they were providing the food and I didn't have any in the house. I've served saltines and Kool-Aid as appetizers. Angela Nissel makes all this look like living in the lap of luxury.

Angela was college student broke. She was digging in the couch cushions for Greyhound fare because some jerk stranded her in another city broke. She once went into a shop with 33 cents and d...more
Chezon
Jul 27, 2011 Chezon rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: college students, young adults
Recommended to Chezon by: okayplayer.com
The first time I read this book, I laughed out loud page after page after page. This time around, I got in a few chuckles, but it wasn't nearly as funny as I remembered. I always recommended this book and gave it to a number of friends as gifts. I think a lot of my disappointment, this time around, came from the downgraded humor. It's still the same book. I've just outgrown it. I've always tagged this as a favorite and while I'm not read to knock it out of the running (because I'm sure most will...more
Nakia
Had it not been for the big font, short length of the book, and it being a book club selection, I would not have finished it. Nissel's misadventures are described as hilarious, but came across as more corny than anything. Had I read this as a college student, I probably would have chuckled a little more, though, and I think that had I read it in blog form on a daily or weekly basis, it might have come across a lot more interesting. Sitting down and reading it the entire way thru in two days made...more
Melissa
I truely enjoyed this book and remember it vividly even though I read it over 10 years ago. I was living with a college friend in what could only be described as a "hell hole" of an apartment that was most definitely run by a slum lord. We were both working in Manhattan and living in the trendy city of Hoboken, NJ. We basically spent all our money on rent and survived on PB Sandwiches and kind gentelmen who wanted to take us out for dinner. We were in a word, broke. Well, we thought we were. We...more
Amanda Bowen
The singularly most hilarious book I've ever read. I laughed so hard at practically every scenario that at times my stomach muscles actually ached from enjoyment. Of course, I was in college when I read this so her plight was truly my own at the time.

The book accounts, through short journal entries, the business of getting by on a daily basis when all you have is your resourcefullness, sarcasm, and a few cents clinging for dear life in your hole-filled pocket. Her writing is comical and positiv...more
whatthedeuce
Mar 19, 2008 whatthedeuce rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone who's ever been broke!
Recommended to whatthedeuce by: No one.
If you've ever sat around musing on how poor and broke you are, you ain't seen nothing yet! Nissel recounts episodes at check-cashing joints, open-mike nights, and church cabarets that will make you glad for whatever little stash you've got in your bank account! Her trick of posing as a teacher's assistant to acquire teacher's edition books for free made me green with envy. I only wish I could've tried that even once during college! Nissel conveys a refreshing sense of true candor and wit, and h...more
melissa
I thought this was all cute and shit when I first read it about six years ago. Probably because back then I was in school and living with the parents who were subsidizing everything. Now I am broke. As in BROKE and begging friends who manage restaurants to give me jobs (yes, jobs, as in I need 47 of them at this present moment) and offering my parrot as collateral to my parents just to buy him birdfood. And also to fix my left rear tire and pay off a speeding ticket and go to the dentist and oth...more
Jen
I loved this book, I read it at a time in my life I was sometimes struggling to make ends meet and I could really relate. Knowing it was temporary didn't put food on the table or help me pay the rent in that moment but looking at the humor of someone in a tighter spot than me really helped. I didn't just look a it as a "broke diary" but also as a funny commentary on absurd situations in life. The "O, my O" moment, the chicken man, the "secret date" (actually I've been in that situation, too!), j...more
Darcy
I ended up giving this one up after 50 pages. I thought it would be a fun book to read, but for me it wasn't. I found the author to be self deprecating. I have been in her situation, where you are doing the bill shuffle, where you eat cheap food, but it doesn't mean you have to be stupid about it. When you are so broke you are doing this you don't go visit friends out of stay incurring more expenses, call someone with a credit card, then bitch when your account is over drawn. At some point you n...more
Elizabeth
Notable for the phrase "O! My O!", The Broke Diaries was extremely fun on the first read - at the end of my senior year of college, dead broke, no real job prospects in sight. I reread it a few years later and found it annoying and trite - which doesn't mean I could no longer identify with the characters - just that I didn't want to.

That said, if this book were a blog, I'd probably read it regularly and get a good laugh at least half of the time. It looks like the author went on to work on Scrub...more
CKE387
Worth the read; even if you don't have two nickels to rub together, borrow this book from the library - it will definitely put a smile on your face.
Carolline
I LOVE this book. LOVE IT.

I read it every few years when I'm feeling down about my finances. Of course, the further I get away from my college days, I feel a bit more sheepish that I'm still in this same broke-ass boat. But all you can do is laugh about it, right? Right?

This book is actually a collection of Nissell's blog entries that she wrote while she was a poor college kid, but the stories are so relatable it's still a fun read.

One chapter/story/whatever still makes me laugh outloud, no m...more
Nardsbaby Reader
Broke-tannica

I learned about THE BROKE DIARIES via 100 Books by Black Women Everyone Must Read. I was immediately drawn to the title and cover. I opened the book and with the first line, I was invested.

Angela Nissel is a college student at Penn State University just trying to make it while earning her degree. Her diary entries were posted online and soon they garnered the attention of a publisher and now readers are laughing while reading through her brokeisms.

THE BROKE DIARIES was fun to rea...more
HeavyReader
For some reason the Crescent Wrench lending library had a copy of this book. I can't remember if I ever actually borrowed it and took it home and read it cover to cover, but I do remember that every week when I had a shift, I would read this book, even when I had other more "important" things to read. I didn't think the writing was all that great and parts of it annoyed me (but ten years later, I can't remember what parts annoyed me or why), but I just couldn't put it down. I think reading this...more
Carolfoasia
This was chosen for my book club, but when we went to review all our books at our ten year anniversary, no one had read it. I kept telling everyone that we had put it on our list, but one woman said she didn't think it was appropriate so we dumped it and had a picking party instead, but no one would believe me.

So, in order to say I read all the books, I read this many years later. It was good to dump it. It wasn't really memorable, but I think this woman has a future as a humorous essayist. It d...more
Melanie
This book had me laughing so hard I had to take breaks to catch my breath! I will probably pull this book out from time to time when life gets me to down and remember Angela's tales of being broke while going to the University of Pennsylvania. The story about how she made the cheesecake without three bowls had me laughing until tears came down my eyes. The best story is when she goes to a "French Cabaret" which is bring your own food (BYOF).... Seriously. Read this! Oh and I'm not from Philly, b...more
Angela
Feb 03, 2008 Angela rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Angela by: Grace Victoria
I'm sorry that I can't say I thought this book was as funny and entertaining as the other reviews say it is. This is an easy read and mildly entertaining. I read the whole thing, but mostly, I just wanted to be done with it so that I didn't have to hear anymore about how broke this girl is. I appreciate how the author is trying to find humor in a difficult situation, which is a good trait to have. However, a whole book about a broke college kid doesn't come off well with me when I know that ther...more
Alia
Jun 13, 2008 Alia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alia by: Jenn
This book was not nearly as funny as I was expecting. I thought it would be a good read, something I could relate to since I've been broke for the last six years, but it really ended up annoying me more than anything else. I didn't feel like her stories really went anywhere, or that there was a point besides her bitching about everyone and everything. And no real information about how she survived being broke, how she got a job later, nothing. The stories were too self-centered, I thought, and o...more
Sarah
I guess I waited too long to read this book. I was hoping it would be funny but also interesting--maybe some ideas for frugality? But unfortunately, it was primarily a transcription of the author's website about being a broke college students and the weird/goofy things she had to do to get by, including petty theft and using her boyfriends. Not really that applicable to me anymore, if ever. I also think it was targeted more toward a young African-American audience than toward me, but that could...more
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Angela Nissel is author of the national best-selling comedic memoirs The Broke Diaries and Mixed. In addition to books, she is a co-executive producer and writer for NBC's medical sitcom Scrubs and executive producer of an in-development television project with Halle Berry and Vincent Cirricionne.

Angela was born a lower-middle class light-brown child in Philadelphia. She even stayed in that fair...more
More about Angela Nissel...
Mixed: My Life in Black and White The Broke Diaries

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“(Regarding check-cashing places):

It's hitting me how poor this really is: I'm standing in a long line to pay someone to give me my pay. So, technically, they get paid before I do, and it's my damn check.”
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