The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
|The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Technically he's now 43¾ but the book has stood the test of time and you might be surprised at just how relevant it still is. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: January 2012|
|Publisher: Penguin Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Adrian Mole was just three months away from his fourteenth birthday when he began writing his diary on New Year's Day. He's just on the edge of true adolescence - pimples are appearing as is a little bit of interest in the opposite sex. He's thinking about what he might like to do eventually, but his first major challenge is the breakdown of his parents' marriage. He writes with a wonderful mixture of knowingness and innocence and usually manages to get things just ever-so-slightly wrong.
A fellow reviewer said a little while ago that if you miss an iconic book when it's published it's worth waiting a while and then revisiting it when all the fuss has died down, the better to judge whether all the brouhaha was merited. I missed Adrian back in 1982, back when soldiers were fighting a distant war and, a Conservative government seemed uncertain about how to deal with raging unemployment - but there was a royal wedding to take our minds off all that was going wrong. Thirty years on and things have obviously - not changed all that much. So how would Adrian Mole's take on the ways of the world stand up to three decades of cynicism from the masses?
Well, the simple answer is that it stands up remarkably well. Somehow you don't notice the absence of mobile phones, computers and the latest must-have games console, because what you do see is timeless - the awkward balance between over-confidence and being targeted by a bully along with the interest in pornography and the odd flashes of maturity which keep peeping through. The characters are brilliant and come off the page remarkably well considering that we only see them through Adrian's eyes. You'll laugh at what Adrian says, but you'll not laugh at Adrian - that would seem too cruel. Then there's his self-centred, feminist mother and her rather creepy lover from next door - and Adrian's father, the hapless George. The perfect creation for me was Pandora - the love interest - who develops into a rather striking young woman in the course of the book.
It's a perfect picture of the eighties, but you'll be surprised at the light it shines over the years at the current decade. Read it as a great story with brilliant humour but recognise it as elegant satire which stands the test of time. I did wonder if some of the contemporary references might not work thirty years on - but I was never for a moment left wondering who was who and there were plenty of wry smiles which indicated that targets are still being hit.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Back in the nineteen eighties we were raving about A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle - but that hasn't stood the test of time quite so well.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend at Amazon.com.
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