July 28, 2017

Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

Diary of a NobodyThis classic novel is very funny. It was originally serialised in Punch in the last 1880s and then printed in full as a book in 1892. Since then it’s never been out of print.

It tells 15 months in the life of London city clerk Mr Charles Pooter, mainly about his homelife. And parodies the middle-class life of Victorian London. Not that I’ve heard this phrase used before, but apparently the book led to a phrase “pooterish” to describe someone who takes themselves too seriously.

In many ways the book reminded me of the BBC sitcom Keeping up Appearances. Both Mr Pooter, and his wife spend a lot of time trying to do what they think is right. Be it Mrs Pooter hanging on every word and suggestion of her friend Mrs James (very much keeping up with the James), or Mr Pooter trying to maintain a conservative lifestyle that his boss might approve of.

But they are in many ways thwarted by their son Lupin, who is their total opposite.

It is an amusing book, not least because Mr Pooter thinks he is very funny and regularly records the little jokes he’s made.


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