Saturday, 30 November 2013

Book Review: Adrian Mole: From Minor to Major

Sue Townsend Adrian Mole

"Adrian Mole: From Minor to Major brings together the three bestselling volumes of Adrian Mole's diaries for the 1980s - The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, The Growing Pains of Adrian Albert Mole and True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole - with Adrian's previously unpublished diaries for 1989 and 1990. For the first time between the covers of one book, these are the complete Adrian Mole diaries, taking him from 13 3/4 to 23 3/4."

I've been immersed in the seven kingdoms, the battle for the Iron Throne and the activities beyond the wall for some time now, and as much as I love A Song of Ice and Fire, sometimes it's lovely to take a break and read something a little more light-hearted. Enter, Sue Townsend. I'm new to her work, but after listening to my flat mate chuckle for an hour non stop when reading one of her other novels, I had to ask "What on earth are you reading?" She pointed me to one of our many bookshelves and said "start with this".

Adrian Mole is a precocious, self labelled intellectual with whom no one quite knows what to do with. The story is laid out in a diary format, with almost daily entries from Mole. Some lengthy, some short and some simply including Adrian's attempts at obscure poetry. The format works well, it's face paced and reads exactly as a teenage diary should- angsty, filled with tales of unrequited love, first kisses and attempts at understanding the politicical goings on in the country (it's set in the 80's, so lots of Thatcher references). I raced through the first two thirds of the book and couldn't wait to find out what Mole was upto next, laughed at his misfortunes and wanted to give him a good shake more than half of the time. But, as a teenage character he was endearing.

This collection includes three books together, and honestly, it all goes a bit wrong when we reach "True Confessions...". Mole is now in his twenties, hasn't grown out of the same obsessions that filled his younger years, and the layout is all over the place. Without including spoilers, I would say, read the first two and perhaps skip the third instalment in this edition.

I understand that there are quite a few sequels in this series, and I've just found one of them in our bookcase. In it, Mole appears to be all grown up with a family, so I might have a little nose just to see how the character has turned out.

If you're wanting a quick, easy read that will give you a few right good laughs then I would recommend at least the first two Adrian Mole stories.

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