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In Ned’s Head
Berts dagbok.jpg
Revised 1993 edition cover, includes a depiction of the original 1987 edition (albeit defaced)
Author Anders Jacobsson and Sören Olsson
Original title Berts dagbok
Translator Kevin Read
Illustrator Sören Olsson
Cover artist Anne Scatto
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Series Bert
Genre Diary, Children's, Youth
Set in fictional town of Öreskoga, Sweden
Published 1987
Published in English
2001
ISBN 0-689-83870-0

Berts dagbok (Swedish: Bert's diary), translated as In Ned's Head, is a diary novel, written by Anders Jacobsson and Sören Olsson and originally published in 1987, it tells the story of Bert Ljung from 14 January to 4 June during the calendar year he turns 12 during the spring term in the 5th grade at school in Sweden. Being the first of the Bert Diaries, the term "Berts dagbok" has later even become a term for the entire Bert Universe.

Created to be older and tougher than Sune, the idea of writing as a diary novel was inspired from Barbro Lindgrens "Världshemligt", but during the Gothenburg Book Fair a person appeared, telling the concept had been taken from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾.

The episodes were originally written during the spring of 1986 for SR Örebro. Sören Olsson was originally supposed to read the chapters before Anders Jacobsson took over. When it was thought to sound too much like Sune, before Sören took over again.

Depicting an ordinary Swedish guy called Bert Ljung, he is an "ordinary" guy except for one thing, he writes a diary. However, he doesn't tell it for someone. The dates follow the 1987 almanac of the Gregorian Calendar, and the finishing lines for each chapter are "Klart slut – varulvstjut" (Swedish: over and out, werewolf howl).

The book is the Bert book that has been spread most outside Sweden (as of 2009).

Plot

The book opens with the words:

Död åt den som tjuvläser denna dagbok. Må han brinna i fasans eld i all evighet... eller i varje fall en liten stund.

translated:

Death to the one who reads this diary in secret. May he burn in the fires of Hell forever... or at least for a short time.

Berts dagbok is set during the spring term in the 5th grade, and runs from 14 January to 4 June. Bert, in class 5A at Beckaskolan is ashamed of his name, and originally uses the Treb Walker persona. Treb is Bert backward, Walker comes from The Phantom whose name is Kit Walker. Bert also writes his own stories, about the hero Kobåj-Kurt. Bert and Åke also have invited their own fictional country, "Hoppalotjingien", which later in the book ceases to exist following a "civil war".

When the book opens, Bert is in love with Rebecka in 5 B and turns to red pencil each time he writes about love, but when Klimpen during Bert' s 12th birthday party during late February tricks Bert into smacking a rubber snake into Rebecka 's butt, and she walks home. This is followed by a period from late February when Bert doesn't care much for girls at all, creating more space for other plots. Among them are Åke Nordin "experimenting " on his little sister Doris, who he tricks into drinking a "dishwashing liquid drink", class 5 A plays soccer against class 5 B, and Bert's sight problems are discovered. When Bert gets glasses, he is teased by Klimpen.

During a May Friday evening school dance event, Bert falls in love with Nadja Nilsson in class 5 E at Jungberska skolan. Torleif tells Bert that she plays the violin in the same orchestra, and that she lives near the soccer ground in a little cottage with her mother and three brothers.

Bert calls Nadja and talks to her, originally using Åke's name. Bert's grandmother says that being kind and polite allows you to get wishes from God, and Bert puts on his best clothes, watches out of the apartment window, and wishes to get together with Nadja Nilsson. Bert thinks that God twinkles with a star.

During the next school dance, Torleif tells Bert's name to Nadja, but they manage to agree to meet.

As the 5th grade goes towards its end, it's announced that Klimpen will move to Motala.

During an experiment, Åke manages to set fire to the remaining pages of Bert's diary. The book ends with Bert and Nadja meeting in the town park on 4 June under an old oak tree, and in its trunk, they carve their initials (NN + BL). And the end, Bert announces his real name, Bert Ljung, and that Treb Walker is no more.

Original edition and revision

Sören Olsson illustrated the original edition, as he did with Sune. It was the only Bert book illustrated by him, and the 1993 reissue was illustrated by Sonja Härdin.

The 1993 reissue has more chapters and is fit to work better with later books and declare things appearing in later books. For example, it's depicted how Lill-Erik moves from Sundsvall, and Emilia Ridderfjell appears in the background, despite the character originally being created for Berts ytterligare betraktelser, where it's told she has been a classmate with Bert for all years. It's also the reissue that first mentions her last name, "Ridderfjell", for the first time. The 1993 reissue opens with a review of class 5 A at Beckaskolan, and it's here Bert's schoolteacher's first and last names (Sonja Ek) are mentioned for the first time, before that she was just referred to as "fröken" ("Miss").

Later adaptions

The book introduces a lot to the Universe of Bert, like the family, his neighbors, and the party. The party, which has become a famous scene, also appears in the TV series, in the episode "Närkontakt i sjätte klassen", and the comics. Lill-Erik's arrival to the class has also become famous, despite not appearing in the original version. However, it appears in both the TV series and the comics. First, everyone thinks Erik is a tough guy, that can beat up Klmimpen, called Stor-Erik or Erik the Great after kings in Sweden, or the Vikings.

The story where Bert's myopia is discovered, leading to him getting glasses and getting teased by Klimpen, also appears in the episode Den ohyggligt fule of the TV series. However, TV series doesn't use the "bauta bacillus" that is supposed to have given Bert myopia.

The 1993 reissue also includes a school discothèque with a masquerade, which has become famous and appears in the TV series episode "Min älskling, du är som en tulipan", and the comics.

The Bert comic album Charmör på danshumör is based on Bert's dagbok.

Audiobook

Audio recordings were released to cassette tape in 1991 by the Änglatroll label entitled "Berts dagbok". and "Berts dagbok om Nadja". There are no music and songs on the tapes, except the sung opening lines "Min dagbok, Berts dagbok".

Translations

In 2001 the book was translated into English by Kevin Read, as In Ned's Head, with the closing lines "Bye, Bye Apple Pie". Geographical places were relocated, and names transliterated becoming "Nadia" and "Rebecca", while Klimpen become "Nugget". For example, it's Canada that defeats the USA in an ice hockey game, while the original tells of Sweden losing to Finland.

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