Our Book of the Week is The Diary of Two Nobodies by Giles Wood and Mary Killen. This is a hilarious journal written by the Gogglebox stars.
MARY: My mother always told me to count to ten before flying off the handle. But it’s not possible to use this tactic with Giles. Family members and friends know that he actually wants us to fly off the handle following his provocations. We can tell this is so because dimples are the sign that he is happy and they appear in his cheeks as he sees someone ranting in reaction to a bespoke comment which would enrage only that person. And so to the outside observer that person will look hysterical and bad by favourable contrast to gentle Giles with his dimples.
Why does he want to be so annoying? He claims he is suffering from ‘classic Middle Child Syndrome’. And that the only way he could get his parents’ attention during his childhood was by annoying them.
The other day I found a suitcase of my old diaries in the attic. Inside were thousands of words written in bitterness about Giles’s appalling behaviour, and not just the bespoke provocations. From the perspective of twenty years on, they just made me laugh and wonder why on earth I had got so cross at the time.
The treasure trove reminded me of how therapeutic it can be to write things down – a diary is a poor man’s psychotherapist. Instead of speaking to the therapist at £100 an hour, and them saying nothing, you pour it all out into your diary and reach the same conclusions without paying.
GILES: Since appearing on Gogglebox and suddenly having time to talk to each other, we had begun to remember what we originally liked about each other, and to see how dialogue is the best way to arrive at a peace settlement. With the thirtieth anniversary of our marriage approaching, it was time to expand on this dialogue by beginning another journal, this time with myself as co-author, to take things a step forward by analysing, not just for ourselves, but for the public consumption of the small audience who seem interested in us, anecdotal accounts of the various hurdles life and marriage throws up at a couple in a bid to try to see what, in the dread words of the politicians, lessons can be learned.
In this we are, of course, invading our own privacy but, if it helps other couples to save their own marriages it will be worth it.
MARY: In the meantime, I have recently started, in tandem with my own work diary, which just details appointments, an equivalent rest diary for Giles to prove to him once and for all that he is suffering from a sort of Work Dysmorphia. While he genuinely believes he is working very hard every day on writing and painting and house maintenance, I hope to prove that in fact he is gardening for up to sixty hours a week.
This is an extract from The Diary of Two Nobodies by Giles Wood and Mary Killen (Virgin Books, £14.99). Buy a copy here.