The Diary of a Nobody is one of those books which I’ve had for ages. I read half of it ages ago then for some reason or another put it down and never got around to picking it up again. I don’t know about you, but I do find it difficult to pick up half-read books. I always have to go back to the beginning because I’m often hopeless at remembering what happened.
Anyway, last year I decided that I should invest in more unabridged audio books. I don’t drive a huge amount, but when I do it tends to be relatively long journeys of perhaps at least an hour each way, so I would have ample opportunity to listen to quite a lot without feeling like I had to break off all the time. My first purchase was the unabridged version of The Diary of a Nobody, read by Martin Jarvis, and I finished listening to it on Monday night as I drove home from London. I loved it.
The novel is, as most people surely know, the fictional diary of Charles Pooter. He’s a pompous old sod who bumbles from one calamity to the next, whether it being the red enamel paint on the bath coming off all over him, or losing £18 on a tip which his fashionable son Lupin sets him up to. He makes terrible jokes, is devoted to his boss Mr. Perkup, and hopes above all else for a good ‘position’ for his (as he thinks) wayward son. He believes in propriety and duty and doing what’s right. He generally takes himself terribly seriously, even when no one else does.
It’s a genuinely funny book, and despite Pooter being an old fool, I felt rather an affection for him by the end. Martin Jarvis was an excellent reader, and I would be equally interested in seeing the adaptation BBC 4 did in 2007 with Hugh Bonneville as Pooter. Must check if it’s on DVD…