The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

The Diary of a Nobody (Wordsworth Classics)

The Diary of a Nobody is a satirical take on the reminiscences of celebrities. Even in the late 19th century there were people who thought there were too many of them. The book is the diary of Charles Pooter, a fictional bank clerk. He comments on seeing reminiscences by people he has never heard of, and doesn’t see why his shouldn’t be as interesting. The memoir runs from April 3rd of an unspecified year to July 10th of the following year.

First published in 1892, The Diary of a Nobody is an amusing look at the concerns of a lower middle-class Victorian man. There are problems with tradesmen, servants and workmen. There are difficulties over social events. Attempts at home improvement go awry. Why on earth did he paint the inside of his bath!?! Pooter’s son causes him some concern, but things work out alright in the end. Pooter himself is a very gentle character, fond of puns which he thinks are hilarious but in reality are dreadful – not even the standard of Christmas cracker jokes.

I have the Penguin Classics edition of The Diary of a Nobody, which has the original illustrations by Weedon Grossmith. This doesn’t seem to be available from Amazon UK, although it is listed on the Penguin website and is available from Waterstones. I don’t normally care if a novel is illustrated, and sometimes find illustrations distracting as they don’t match my mental image of the people in the story. In this case I found that the pictures enhanced the story, so I would advise getting hold of an illustrated copy. I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I found I enjoyed it. Well worth reading.

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