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Diary of a Nobody
George Grossmith
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Diary of a Nobody

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  8,735 Ratings  ·  639 Reviews
'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 "Somebody" -- why my diary should not be interesting.'

The Diary of a Nobody (1892) created a cultural icon, an English archetype. Anxious, accident-prone, occasionally waspish, Charles Pooter has come to be seen as th
Published March 1st 1993 by Tuttle Publishing (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
Jan 27, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Pooter decides to keep a diary in the hopes of one day becoming the Pepys of the late Victorian era. He is a clerk of a somewhat stuffy and pompous nature but with a love of bad puns and jokes (luckily for him his wife shares his sense of humor!).

I found him a little reminiscent of "The Irish R.M." in his never-ending series of domestic mishaps - both of these books amuse yet puzzle me. As a person who has never even seen a domestic servant much less employed one, the battle of control betw
Jul 05, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, humor, 1890s, london
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
Mar 10, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 01, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2014 Cecily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overrated
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
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
Vimal Thiagarajan
A remarkably unique work of humour. Wasn't the Wodehousian kind with bubbling verve and
contrivance nor the Jeromian kind with riotous and extreme slapsticks and engulfing philosophy. It sported laid-back and believable everyday humour with not so readily apparent existential undercurrents. Made for a very relaxing read, just what I've come to expect of a classic.
Mar 11, 2013 Willis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2015 Edward Higgins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
803. Diary of A Nobody, George & Weedon Grossmith
عنوان: خاطرات یک آدم ناقابل؛ نویسنده: جورج گروسمیت؛ ویدون گروسمیت: مترجم: شهلا طهماسبی؛ تهران، نشرنو، 1394؛ در 197 ص؛ شابک: 9786007439388؛
English comic novel written by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith, with illustrations by the latter. The Diary records the daily events in the lives of a London clerk, Charles Pooter, his wife Carrie, his son Lupin, and numerous friends and acquaintances over a period of 15 months.
Jade Heslin
Apr 13, 2012 Jade Heslin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jan 31, 2016 Roberta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regno-unito, 1001
When I was 12 years old our teacher of ESL registered us with a pen-pal service and we were randomly assigned the address of a kid more or less our age from another part of the world. My friend was a girl from Portugal, Ana Isabel, and she sent me this booklet as a present. I put it in my library, not ready yet to read a whole book in English, and I left it there ever since. I don't know exactly why, it simply didn't appeal to me.
Well, I regret I waited so much. Mr Pooter family and friends are
Jul 26, 2011 Tenzin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2013 Norm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
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
Dec 31, 2014 Morgan Duplechin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
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.
May 21, 2015 Caroline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Höll på att dö av uttråkning, skummade slutet ety nej.
Ruba AlTurki
كتاب سفر مسلي جدا بشخصية ظريفة وواقعية.
Laurel Hicks
Clever and funny diversion.
Sep 26, 2016 Lostaccount rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably should have been titled The Diary Of A Dimwit.
Poor old Mr. Pooter is a bit of a sap. Walked all over by Lupin, and as for Gowing and Cummings ...
The book was funny, not laugh out loud funny but humorous and weirdly compelling even when nothing much was happening, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
Written in Victorian language, where men make ejaculations innocently "... ejaculated: [over] Caroline" and skylarking means snogging.
Recommended for readers who wish we still lived i
For such a famously funny book its sure helped my insomnia.

I loved the title and the cover with the bath, so I really wanted to like it. It didn't work, so sad marchie.
Rupert Smith
Nov 14, 2013 Rupert Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rajat TWIT
The diary of a nobody is a reflection of any middle-aged, family loving, diligent and an ordinary middle class citizen who searches for the satisfaction in an unsatisfactory life. He doesn't complain, and rarely does share his disappointment with anyone else. More than the disappointment, it is the daily, irregular and amusing little embarrassments which happen to everyone, that are rarely shared. So a diary, where the daily accounts of such a person is shared, becomes a valuable possession. Bec ...more
Jonathan Goddard
May 25, 2013 Jonathan Goddard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • Augustus Carp, Esq. By Himself Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man
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  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
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  • The Monastery
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  • Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.
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  • A Tale of a Tub
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  • Ennui
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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
More about George Grossmith...

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“I never was so immensely tickled by anything I had ever said before. I actually woke up twice during the night, and laughed till the bed shook.” 7 likes
“What's the good of a home, if you are never in it?” 3 likes
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