Broke? These diaries worth the investment

By Andrew Ross

Angela Nissel is effin’ hilarious. The proof rests in her first book, The Broke Diaries. This "completely true" memoir recounts Nissel’s senior year at Penn State University, during which she was, as the title suggests, vraiment fauchée.

The Diaries started out as a simple collection of postings on the Web–whence some of them can still be found at–which eventually blossomed into this 200 plus-page memoir. The catalyst for this transformation?

"Some big powerful book publishing people surfed across my diary and now I’m getting paid to write about being broke," writes Nissel in her introduction.

Nissel’s book reads like a series of soliloquies: her narrative lets the reader see her perception of events, her inner thoughts and her feelings. One has a sense of knowing her after reading her book.

However, this should not be taken as a sign the work is dry and academic. Nissel has a keen sense of humour, and there is hardly a page to be found that won’t have the reader laughing. Nissel’s humour is not limited to her prose either: The Broke Diaries also contains some very funny illustrations and poetry.

Broke students, like many Gauntlet readers, should seriously consider dropping $15 on this book. In addition to quality entertainment, the book’s great scam suggestions could turn out to be worth many times the pithy cover price.

Nissel presents the reader with an every-woman brand of humour. Her endearing tone engages the reader on the very first page and keeps them turning pages until they find themselves reading the book’s acknowledgements. Even then, the reader is left craving more.

Unfortunately for the reader, it is unlikely there will be any further installments of The Broke Diaries: Nissel has graduated, runs several successful Web sites, and has a book deal. In other words, she is no longer broke–quite the opposite, in fact. However, we should expect to hear from her again as her publishers, besieged by numerous fans clamouring for more, will no doubt be seeking more of her work.

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