Thursday, December 23, 2010

Diary of a Chav: Diva Without a Cause- Grace Dent

You ever wonder how the 'other half' lives?
I've often wondered who the other half were, and why were separated into only two groups.  But if you come from an avaerage American family, you're probably not in the same half as Shiraz Bailey Wood.
Yes, she was named after wine.  That's how tacky her family is.
I first read this book when it was called Diary of a Chav.  But then they renamed it.  And the series is originally British, but for some reason Americans felt the titles should be different in this country, which has made me thoroughly confused as to which ones in Britain are the ones I'm reading now.
BUT . . . you want to know what this is about.
Since I consider myself an honorary limey, seeing as to living there for so long and knowing more of their slang than most Americans do, and when I meet British people here and they always think I'm originally from Britain. Yeah, seriously.
A Chav is basically a poor trashy British person.  Originally they were called charvers or charvs in Northern England, but since this takes place in Essex, we'll let it slide.
Shiraz's diary is full of hilarity; her mother yells at her for going to school, drinks Peach Lambrella 'cos she thought it sounded pretty, and tells her daughters to wear their matching pink jumpsuits to parties so people think they have money (I know, pink jumpsuits are not what your typical rich person wears).  "Shizza's" sister, Cava-Sue (don't ask me where that name came from; I'm not even sure I want to know), went off to college, thoroughly pissing off dear mummy because she's not working and giving mum money.  Mum is a bit obsessed with money; most likely because she has none.
Cava-Sue is trying to get away from the Chav Lifestyle and move on to the slightly more prestigious Emo Lifestyle, and "Shizza" is pretty sure she'll be able to become famous and go on Big Brother and live off of that forever, which does sound like the ordinary teenage chav's dream. The problem she has is that although her family is a bunch of chavs, she actually has a brain in there somewhere.

What I love about this book is the slang.  British slang is great, especially Chavspeak (yes I just made up that word). And then she rolls off crap like this: "I wish I could flutter my eyelashes and remember funny lines from Dog the Bounty Hunter that make boys laugh."
Is that how to hook a teenage boy?  Geez, I had no idea.  No wonder I didn't get any dates in high school.

Shiraz attends the so-called "Superchav Academy" but does NOT think she's a chav (you probably will though), but does admit that that Uma girl down the street is. Her brother likes to refer to her as a 'lesboid' and gets the 'bogtrots' pretty frequently, so he's definitely a chav.

Throughout Shiraz's secret diary, she gets a crush a Wesley Barrington Bains II, and of course always refers to him this way, and then when her sister runs off to London to be a real emo chick, she gets her family on a television show to get everyone happy again. "I sure like the sound of that Kirsten-who-is-trained," they all say about the show. 'Cos, ya know, she's trained.  She's keepin' it real.

And yeah, just by looking at the cover photo, you can kind of figure out what a chav is.  Velour hooded jumpsuits with stilleto heels, fake gold chain, huge hoop earrings; that's what they like.

There's some great descriptions of their Chavvy friends and acquantainces which are pretty hilarious too, like the family whose door has been busted down by the police so many times they just have it stuck shut and everyone comes in through the back. And Wesley Barrington Bains II sounds pretty much butterz to me, but Shizza is still pretty hot for him. 

You must remember that she is 15, so no matter what lifestyle she lives, she's still gonna think some pretty whacked-out things, but of course the charver girl in her exacerbates the situation.  And of course, when teenagers are thinking, anything that makes their thoughts more bizarre (such as living it up Chavstyle [yes I made that up to]), is pretty much guaranteed to be funny in that "Good lord them thar teenagers are so peculiar these days" way.



  1. See also: Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging. It's hilarious and even funnier if you know some basic French.

  2. I liked that one too. My dad even read one in the series and laughed his ass off. But I recommended it to a friend in England and she hated it.

  3. Oooohh... I thought it was hilarious. My mom thought it was hilarious. Though the library did give it too me for free....