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The Diary of a Nobody

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  10,693 Ratings  ·  783 Reviews
The Diary of a Nobody is so unassuming a work that even its author, George Grossmith, seemed unaware that he had produced a masterpiece. For more than a century this wonderfully comic portrayal of suburban life and values has remained in print, a source of delight to generations of readers, and a major literary influence, much imitated but never equalled.
Paperback, 175 pages
Published 2006 by Wordsworth Classics (first published 1892)
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Well, what can I say?

Bloggers, Facebookers - who would have thought you had a predecessor in Victorian England?

Who would have thought the vain thoughts and actions of a completely unimportant person with big ideas about his own personality were meticulously documented and published back then already, including lists of food, what to wear on what occasion, social encounters, small run-ins with friends and family, hopelessly disappointing egocentric grown-up children? If he had had a smartphone,
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
The diary of my everyday life would be very boring, and by most measure so is Charles Pooter's. Living in late Victorian Era England, Pooter and his wife Carrie are stuck deep into middle class society. But Pooter knows his place, and he seems quite happy to make the best of it. He pays homage to his employer, appreciates his modest home, and is satisfied with his occasional chance to rub shoulders with the upper class at the Lord Mayors Ball. He daily frets over things like shirt collars, boot ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
803. Diary of A Nobody, George & Weedon Grossmith
The Diary of a Nobody is an English comic novel written by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith, with illustrations by the latter. It originated as an intermittent serial in Punch magazine in 1888–89 and first appeared in book form, with extended text and added illustrations, in 1892. 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 ove
Jonathan Stephenson
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 06, 2011 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
May 30, 2008 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
Jan 24, 2016 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
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, 1890s, victorian, 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
Lorenzo Berardi
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Grace Harwood
Mar 10, 2013 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
Ivonne Rovira
Apr 21, 2013 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
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.
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
Edward Higgins
Sep 25, 2013 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
Mar 11, 2013 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
Ivy H
This is my response to this book:

I tried. I REALLY tried to connect with this book but I got nothing...

It was a huge disappointment because it was supposed to be so funny and interesting but it just bored me. This was a novel written in the format of a personal diary and it's supposed to be humorous because the protagonist ( diary writer ) is a pretentious middle aged, middle class guy who likes to lord it over others in a politically correct, condescendin
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because Adam Dalgliesh - the MC in many of PD James' novels and short stories - gives his elderly aunt a copy for Christmas! I said to myself, never heard of that, is it a real book? It is.

It's funny in a sort of strained way, involving a middle-class gentleman, Mr. Charles Pooter, who keeps a diary for 18 months around the years 1892-1893. He quibbles and complains and goes through his daily routine - he's some sort of clerk at some sort of business requiring clerks - and finds humo
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
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
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the character Charles Pooter says right at the beginning "because I do not happen to be a somebody why my diary should not be interesting" And so the everyday occurrences of lower-middle class life is written out in diary form with little incidences of life in London with family and friends. It made me chuckle with its little observations and was a gentle book on a look of social history of the time. It's a shame this book is not so well known in the classic genre.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muito divertido, este clássico da literatura de humor oitocentista. Mas este diário desinteressante de um amanuense com uma vida banal, empregado de uma firma na City e vivendo num bairro dos subúrbios de Londres, é sobretudo uma caricatura da classe média inglesa do século XIX, e uma observação, que nalguns pontos chega a ser satírica e mordaz, do rígido sistema de classes da Inglaterra, tanto da época como da actual, bem como das regras e dos protocolos da vida em sociedade.

Mas para nós leito
Jade Heslin
Apr 13, 2012 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
Travelling Sunny
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1305-read

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
Richard Newton
When I was a child, whenever I went somewhere like the dentist’s there were always copies of old Punch magazines. They seemed an odd incomprehensible thing to a child - although I knew they were meant to be funny.

This book reminded me of them - which is not completely surprising given it was first published in Punch. What I mean by this, is that much of this book has the feel of a bygone era of humour.

This is definitely a book of its time. It’s a gentle, rather sweet story, but the humour is qu
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fiction
Had vaguely heard of this for years, and thought I might as well get around to reading it. I'd thought somehow it would be depressing (the title sounded melancholy to me), but the point turns out to be poking fun at someone who is completely average, to whit, the middle class (or is it lower middle class?), middle-aged clerk, Charles Pooter. He records all the little fusses and bothers that interfere with his generally contented domestic life. Some of it was amusing, but I think lots of late 19t ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Diary of a Nobody is so unobtrusive, modest, 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 and instinctive comedy — which cannot but make this seem a very peculiar achievement; a masterpiece nonetheless, albeit a seemingly accidental one. This peculiar achievement is the diary of a Charles Pooter, a nobody to himself and others, who asserts his right to ...more
What can I say about this little novel? I didn't expect to end up liking it. I believe Evelyn Waugh called it the "funniest novel in the world"!

"The Diary of a Nobody" is like the middle-aged Victorian male's equivalent of Bridget Jones's Diary. The narrator Charles Pooter, a London clerk, is both adorably neurotic and insufferable in his pretentions. It's about the challenges he faces in his life, detailing minutiae in the form of work problems, home improvement, social gatherings, but the humo
Feb 24, 2013 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
Jan 29, 2016 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
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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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“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.” 15 likes
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