Sunday, 24 July 2011

REVIEW: Diary of a Snob by Grace Dent

Diary of a Snob by Grace Dent (Hodder Children’s Books)

For my first review on these pages I thought I’d go for a vairy funny lady. Grace Dent writes accidentally-snort-while-reading-in-public books.

I was a rather MASSIVE fan of the Diary of a Chav series. In fact Shiraz Bailey Wood would definitely make it into my girls in books I want to be friends with. I’ll have to knock out someone. Probably Mary Crawford.

I was trying to make Mary look sad at being dropped from my friends list, but she looks a bit like a Mexican bandit. This is Shiraz from the US cover of the book. (I’m not sure why she’s cross-eyed).

BFF rating: 8/10 Oh my days… being friends with Shiz would be bare jokes, yagetme?

(Er, Liz, don’t attempt to speak like a young person when you are in fact very middle class and also sad and old)

Okay, sorry.

Lord! Being friends with Shiraz would be very fun, wouldn’t it? 

She’s always full of plans for doing something a bit different to the everyday life of hiphop, hoodies and claire’s accessories. Beware if she tells you she’s sorted a really good job in Ibiza as it may turn out to involve picking up actual human poos from the floor of a foam disco.

I’ve gone off topic somewhat! What I meant to say was that I loved Shiraz so much that I was thoroughly prepared to hate Poppet Zanzibar Montague-Jones – diarist of Diary of a Snob. I thought it would be quite easy to hate someone who’s, like, really rich, calls her mum ‘Mother’ and thinks Eastenders is a documentary about the working class.

If, for Shiraz, the only way is Essex, Poppet is definitely made in Chelsea. She lives in Octavia Square with a family that includes her sister Kitten Calypso (reality TV star/It girl/coke head) and her brothers eco-warrior Knute and child genius Flash. (Plus the au pair, housemaid and chaffeurs – obv). Poppet and her friends (Vixen and Striker) attend Hampstead Lycee for ladies and hang out with boys called Marmaduke and Jackdaw, whose dads own clubs with VVVIP sections.

However, Poppet’s horizons broaden slightly when she visits her sister in rehab and has to – OMG – get. a. bus. (and. the. tube.) A particularly hilarious moment is her first ever visit to McDonald’s. And that’s where she meets Kwame (or as her friends call him ‘the hot black guy who wants to be a doctor’). Kwame’s from the Cottingham estate (where people, like, have diseases and stab each other and are like, feral, aren’t they?) Turns out Kwame’s not so feral and is actually quite yummy, so Poppet’s got some rethinking to do.

Grace Dent includes just enough mockery of posh people (there’s a character called Frangipan…) with some well placed moments that make you think. Despite the very different world she lives in, Poppet has the same worries as Shiraz – insecurities about her body, friendships and boy problems – and her gradual awareness that her life isn’t actually all that typical and maybe it’s a bit wrong that some people are massively rich and some people are massively not makes her a likeable and believable character, not a caricatured rah.

Stars: **** Hilare, (but Diary of a Chav would win in a fight).

Read it if you like: Diary of a Chav, Louise Rennison, Joanna Nadin’s Rachel Riley series   

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