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Broke Diaries

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  1,350 Ratings  ·  202 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 found an audien
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Published June 12th 2001 by Villard Books (first published April 10th 2001)
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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
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
Dana Van
Sep 15, 2011 Dana Van rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
Angela Nissel's diary of her senior year in college definitely lends more support to the idea that "being poor is expensive," but something is lacking in this otherwise honest and clever memoir.

First thoughts: There were times when I was reminded of Nickel and Dimed (Barbara Ehrenreich), but I wanted more of that style and less of Nissel's narration of her days. Memoirs are hot or cold for me, and this adaptation of a blog felt like a straight copy and paste from the online platform into print p
Jun 07, 2007 Dot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Nov 14, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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
Oct 07, 2012 Carolfoasia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 05, 2015 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very funny! Angela has such a wit and charm about her that makes any messed up or awkward situation sound hilarious and lighthearted. To be perfectly honest, this book made me extremely grateful for the life I have as of right now. As a current college senior, the same age as Ang in the book, I have been fortunate enough to have the funds and means to afford the things I need and then some. It's humbling to realize that not everyone is as fortunate and that you should truly appreci ...more
Jun 15, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2009 J. Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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.
Feb 10, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan 15, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The girl is hilarious.
mainly just some hilarious stories, no more no less. she thinks she's cute, and funny, and she is, really.
Jan 08, 2017 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-books
It was difficult for me to relate to this book, but I did enjoy the ride. The open mike poetry night was especially hilarious- shake the bed,dying laughing, funny. Other memorable highlights- shopping for dress pants in a communal dressing room with no underclothes on for lack of laundry money; Fred the Ford and last, but not least, the bank/check-bouncing/check-cashing snafu. Also, the $1200 business line phone bill. Overall, Pretty funny but the vernacular got old quick.
Bookish Jen
Apr 08, 2014 Bookish Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2010 Graceann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 03, 2016 Corielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Um, am I the only person who is walking around without underwear on today? I know I can’t be. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and I know if it’s happened to me more than once, it’s happened to someone else at least one time. I’m three quarters short of clean draws.”

Angela Nissel's memoir The Broke Diaries apparently started out as a blog that she wrote in college, trying to find humor in a very crappy financial situation. Flat-broke in college, occasionally unable to find eno
Feb 08, 2011 Nakia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2010 Chezon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: college students, young adults
Recommended to Chezon by:
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
Nov 12, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fluff-chick-lit
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
Jun 02, 2015 Adina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Broke Diaries was a book that came highly recommended by a fellow writer and friend. The first few pages had me hooked at the hands of it humor, ridiculousness and subject alone. The story is based on diary entries from the main character, Angie, who is a student at University of Pennsylvania. She is in her last year and in short, Angie is broke. She can’t afford the class textbooks so she shares with friends. She schemes, charms, talks her way out of many entertaining and embarrassing situa ...more
May 24, 2008 melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Bowen
Jul 07, 2011 Amanda Bowen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2008 whatthedeuce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 06, 2008 HeavyReader rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-stories
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
Dec 27, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 11, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Nardsbaby Reader
Mar 03, 2013 Nardsbaby Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Feb 03, 2008 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Angela Nissel...

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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.”
“Um, am I the only person who is walking around without underwear on today? I know I can’t be. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, and I know if it’s happened to me more than once, it’s happened to someone else at least one time. I’m three quarters short of clean draws.” 0 likes
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