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The Diary of a Nobody

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  7,240 ratings  ·  559 reviews
The diary of an office clerk and righteous family man, Mr Pooter, whose entries provide a portrait of the class system and the inherent snobbishness of the suburban middle classes in the 1880s.
Unknown Binding, 240 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Not Avail (first published 1892)
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MJ Nicholls
11 April

Sat down to write a capsule review of The Diary of a Nobody. Interrupted by a loving thump at the door. It was Mark Nicholls from my review of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, a piece of spoof metafiction that ranks as my most liked GR review. I studied my 23-year-old self carefully then looked at my 25-year-old self and noted nothing had changed facially in two years except I was even more handsomely bespectacled. “Would you like to buy a copy of . . . ?” he began, bu
Nov 18, 2014 Jan-Maat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the light hearted
This reminded me of Three Men in a Boat in that I don't feel that some great moments add up to a great book.

A diary format allowed the Grossmith's to have a series of comic (view spoiler) incidents without the inconvenience of a plot, although there are some long running story lines that are tied up by the end of the book.

The diary is written by Mr Pooter, a senior bank clerk who wor
Jonathan Stephenson
Brilliant! A book filled with unimportant characters, not about anything in particular, in which nothing much happens. Well not exactly, this is a satire on being ordinary.

Admittedly modern readers may not find it as funny as when it was first published in Punch in the late 19th century, as the context and detail of Victorian middle-class values that it parodies are no longer an immediately understood reference point and tastes in, as well as expectations of, humour have moved on. What it pokes
Bumbling Charles Pooter's memoir of timeless suburban angst The Diary of a Nobody (1892) remains remarkably modern and amusing even a century after it was first printed in Punch. Pooter can't understand his son's slang or dismal work ethic ... his wife is spellbound by new age spiritualism ... his friends continually clean out his larder and drain his wine bottles without reciprocating ... the plumbing doesn't work ... the neighbors throw garbage into his garden ... and fate seems determined to ...more
Grace Harwood
"Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see - because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody' - why my diary should not be interesting."

And thank goodness that Charles Pooter, ordinary clerk and Victorian family man decided to follow this course. The humour is gentle but had me in stitches at times and is still as funny today as it must have been for its contemporary audience of Punch readers in the 1890s. One is torn bet
Lorenzo Berardi
It is with the uttermost pleasure that I read through the diary of Mr Charles Pooter of Holloway, London.
Mark my words, this gentleman was certainly not a Nobody.

I am aware that the excellent Mrs Pooter and the author's own son, Mr Lupin Pooter, didn't value the diary much. Nonetheless, it is my strong belief that they are both mistaken in this respect.

By Jove! This distinguished gentleman - which is to say Mr Charles Pooter - not only mastered his business in the City but knew very well how
I'd had this for a while and thought it would make good paired reading with Three Men on a Boat, as they're both considered classics of British humor of about the same era. George Grossmith is perhaps best known as a long-time star of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, performing the comic baritone roles (Ko-Ko, Major-General Stanley, Sir Joseph Porter) in Gilbert and Sullivan's operas; his brother Weedon was largely an artist.

Their hero, Charles Pooter, is an ordinary middle-class clerk in London
Ivonne Rovira
Thirty years before Sinclair Lewis published Babbit and set the standard for smug, self-important middle-class conformity, there was The Diary of a Nobody and Charles Pooter. Pooter, a senior bank clerk in the City renting a home in the London suburb of Holloway, encapsulates Victorian respectability, snobbery, and pretensions. Pooter nearly invariably gets the short end of the stick in his interactions with his two neighbors, Cummings and Gowings; his spendthrift, reckless son Lupin; and the va ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Funny enough to keep me reading it to the end, but not funny enough to make me do anything else except to occasionally smile to myself.

Originally published on instalments in a magazine from May, 1888 to May 1889 this is the diary of the fictional Charles Pooter who justified keeping and publishing it in an Introductions where he said:

"Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see--because I do not happen to be a 'Somebo
Interesting read. It's not exciting or dazzling. It is "Seinfeld" in Victorian times. It is about nothing: just a man keeping a diary of his days. He and his wife live very ordinary, middle-class lives. He works for a financial firm. She keeps house. They live simply. Appearances are important to them, not only for his work but for their standing in the community. Their adult son moves back in with them (common in today's world), and his lifestyle, speech, and attitude is very different from his ...more
Edward Higgins
I really like Pooter’s terrible jokes. I know I’m not supposed to, but shit puns make me happy…

‘The Diary of a Nobody’ goes nowhere and does nothing - but it is still an utterly compelling read.

It is from the novel’s central character that we derive the term ‘Pooterism’ (Noun: to take oneself grotesquely seriously.) But this is unfair.

Charles Pooter is constantly throwing out gags and half-arsed one-liners to people. It’s just unfortunate that only he (and occasionally his wife, Carrie) is bri
Overrated "diary" of a middle-aged middle-class angst-ridden Victorian middle-manager, dealing with inconsequential daily irritations in a dry (but not especially funny) way. He also likes the odd, very bad, self-conscious pun - unfortunately I don’t.

I generally think that one measure of great art (and I count literature as art) is that you get something different from it each time. Books like this challenge that view: I remember enjoying it in my late teens or early 20s, but a decade or two lat
Well I have to say this book didn’t quite live up to Evelyn Waugh’s testimonial on the back cover: “The funniest book in the world”. Mind you, Waugh did write Brideshead Revisited, so he wasn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute kind of guy. Maybe he had lower standards when it came to humour than the rest of us. In fact, were Waugh still about today, I’d write him a terse but witty note and ask him to refund my purchase money. Not that it was a terrible book or anything, it was well-written, and somewhat ...more
Recommended to me as a classic of British humor, The Diary of a Nobody shouldn't ever be compared to Three Men in a Boat, and is significantly inferior to Augustus Carp. It's not bad, but at least as close to being so as it is to a great work of humor. It produces some grins, but hardly any laughs.

The diary belongs to Charles Pooter, a clerk in late Victorian England, as he writes about his adventures with untrustworthy butchers and housekeepers, indecent and selfish friends, his loutish and la
The Diary of a Nobody is so self-effacing, unobtrusive and natural a piece of work, that missing it completely could be forgiven, well almost. It is a thoroughly obscure piece of writing armed with a unique format that provides for riveting comedy instinctive to the writer, which cannot but make this seem like a very peculiar achievement, a masterpiece nonetheless, albeit a seemingly accidental masterpiece. This idiosyncratic achievement that went horridly right is the diary of a Charles Pooter, ...more
Jade Heslin
This book had me in stitches. Mixing the hilarity of puns (the BEST form of comedy) with the humorously uneventful diary entries of a Victorian Gentleman makes for terrific reading. Mr. Pooter is undoubtedly one of the best comic characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. His failed attempts at witticisms filled me with joy, for at least I found him funny, if no one else did.
How can you not love this man?:

“He said he wouldn’t stay, as he didn’t care much for the smell of the paint
Travelling Sunny

May 16
I'm floored - positively flabbergasted - that I've never heard of this book until now. It took my looking for something to read from my list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.This is the hysterically funny account of Mr. Pooter, a typical, suburban, middle-class Englishman written in the late 1800s. And yet, it rarely read like a "classic" - it felt contemporary.

May 17
It reminded me a lot of a movie called The Money Pit with Tom Hanks in the beginning as
I downloaded this to my Kindle kinda,sorta by accident, and when I started reading it I was pleasantly surprised at how well a contemporary author caught the colloquialisms, manner and speech of 1800's England ... then I felt like a bit of a fool when I found out it had been,in fact, written in the 1800's.

My bad.

That said (as the red begins to fade from my blush), this was a great book.. about relatively nothing ... by a supercilious ass ... with no great protagonist ... no overriding plot ... l
Morgan Duplechin
For a classic this book was hilarious. In every chapter I would find myself laughing out loud and everyone would turn around and stare at the crazy girl laughing at her kindle (story of my life). This book was about nothing, really. It was just the ramblings of a "nobody." This book is so warm and different from all the classics, I wouldn't say it's a must read but it will always have a warm place in my heart.
Rupert Smith
Comic novels feature prominently in my life, on the basis that there’s enough pain and misery in life without having to read about it all the time. Whenever someone offers me the latest heart-rending, soul-shattering tale of loss and grief I usually say ‘thank you very much’ and reach for something like The Diary of a Nobody. It’s one of those books that just gets funnier the more you read it, and things that seemed pointless or banal at first glance become hysterical. Originally published in se ...more
This is an excellent, light and amusing read. I wouldn't say it's laugh-out-loud funny, but it certainly had me smiling a lot, which is quite a feat.

Charles Pooter is a loveable and slightly old-fashioned, bumbling character, whose diary chronicles his life over the period of a year or so. He's a middle-class man who enjoys a pun (while the puns themselves are not uproariously funny, his reactions and elatedness at thinking them up are pretty amusing).

He (usually) enjoys the company of his frien
Marts  (Thinker)
The most humorous accounts of the daily activities of a city clerk called Mr. Pooter... Pooter decides to keep a diary in which he records the events of a few months in the lives of his wife Carrie, son Lupin, friends and acquantances, and himself...
A most delightful read!!!
Höll på att dö av uttråkning, skummade slutet ety nej.
Juli Rahel
I put this novel on my 100 Classics list after being told it was the one that established the quintessential Englishman. Since I am still trying to figure out the people by whom I surrounded on a daily basis here in England, I thought there'd be no better book to read.

Initially this novel took some time getting used to since it is not often that novels are entirely written in diary form. Although the title gave that away, it is still surprising to see how close-minded a story becomes when it is
Jonathan Goddard
I loved this book right from the opening lines:

'Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see - because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody' - why my diary should not be interesting.'

Charles Pooter's narrative remains extremely witty throughout, and provided me with many very good laughs. I liked all the main family: our narrator Charlie, middle-aged, suburban dwelling, white-collar worker whose greatest dream is to have
Do you have trouble with servants and the grocer's boy? Do you find it difficult understanding the youth of today? What with their slang and modern approach to life. Do you find it difficult to adhere to the correct etiquette and find that you inadvertently offend everyone? Then you just might identify with the 'hero' of this satirical novel - Mr. Charles Pooter.

This novel is a mild satire of a Victorian lower middle-class clerk and is very readable - I read most of it on the bus to and from wo
Hugo Emanuel
Um divertido retrato da vida que nos é "pintado" através do diário fictício de um escriturário de categoria média dado a frequentes "faux-pas" sociais cujas desventuras acabam por servir como uma cáustica sátira não só das aspirações e modo de vida da classe média britânica da época mas também da inundação do mercado literário pela publicação de diários (publicações estas frequentemente pagas pelos próprio autores destes através da chamada "Vanity Press")que pareciam não ter outro propósito de e ...more
It's often difficult to read books that in their day were pioneers of certain forms of literature, because now they often feel dated. It's even harder with books that are pastiches when the things they are satirising are long forgotten.

But somehow the woes of Mister Pooter are still funny, even when the precise social nuances are almost meaningless to us today. I think that's partly because the characters are so recognisable (the social structures may have changed, but human nature hasn't) and w
George Grossmith has left us a delightfully funny account of a bank clerk's daily affairs over the course of a year in 1880's England. Fortunately for readers in the modern era, this book is still in print and will continue to be a source of pleasure for many generations to come. Mr. Pooter's diary deals with daily events, from which we glean many details about his friends and family. Mr. Pooter is a very proper bank clerk who is hilarious when he does not mean to be - his honest descriptions of ...more
This was an interesting little book. I listened to it, read in a nice, stuffy English accent. All the time I was listening, I thought it must be a sort of spoof on the Dickens/Austen-type books that go on and on about the daily life of the gentry in England. At the end of the tapes, it explained that this was first published in 1852, so right at the same time as Dickens, and thus it really was a satire of the time, making fun of the stuffy "gentry" books by detailing the life of a humble middle- ...more
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George Grossmith was an English comedian, writer, composer, actor, and singer. His performing career spanned more than four decades. As a writer and composer, he created 18 comic operas, nearly 100 musical sketches, some 600 songs and piano pieces, three books and both serious and comic pieces for newspapers and magazines. Grossmith is best remembered for two aspects of his career. First, he creat ...more
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“What's the good of a home, if you are never in it?” 1 likes
“He said he wouldn’t stay, as he didn’t care much for the smell of the paint, and fell over the scraper as he went out. Must get the scraper removed, or else I shall get into a scrape. I don’t often make jokes.” 1 likes
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