My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Meet Mr. Charles Pooter, perfectly average in every way. Actually, he doesn’t really like being average (as he is a smidgen snobbish) but he certainly isn’t a ‘nobody’ either. He is rather just one of us, a person trying to get ahead in life and be as successful as he can be in the face of life’s little embarrassing disasters. And believe you me there are plenty of those in this book!
This is his diary, wherein he faithfully records all of the aforementioned moments including the stress of moving into a new house. British comedy is famous for its sarcasm and dry wit, and ‘The Diary of a Nobody’ has this in spades as it was written by George Grossmith, a rather famous comedian of his time. The humour here is of the domestic variety, and includes sharp observations of moments between long-married couples like the Pooters, whose spats are not funny at the time of happening but become hilariously so in retrospect.
All families have their dysfunctional side, and the Pooter ‘black sheep’ is none other than Lupin, the son – a young, cad about town with a bad work ethic and a penchant for making money fast through dubious means. Like most fathers, Charles Pooter is seriously concerned for his boy as he can’t seem to hold down a job and has taken to slang and courting chorus girls, which to him are marks of indecency. Attached to the Pooter household are the maids and two longstanding friends Cummings and Gowing, who (like their names) arrive whenever they want and always manage to finish off Mr. Pooter’s spirits.
The problem with Pooter, (or rather the sad part of it) is that he is an intelligent man, but for some reason is never entirely taken seriously by his friends and family. Everyone is making jokes at his expense and his own jokes aren’t all that good either. He is a rather sensitive character, and comes across as a bit of a pushover. In fact, he reminds me a little of Kenneth Williams of ‘Carry On‘ fame’ with a large helping of John Cleese.
All in all rather funny in a quaint way. Despite being written in the late 1800’s, it is very easy to read and relate to. I feel sorry for Mr. Pooter! I swear I know someone like this in real life…