Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years by Sue Townsend

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Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years by Sue Townsend

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Adrian Mole and co are back in this hilarious, ninth instalment in the saga that fans old and new will not want to miss.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Michael Joseph
ISBN: 978-0718153700

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Adrian Mole is now 39¼ and living, quite literally, in a pigsty, sharing an all too thin party wall with his parents and working in a bookshop. It's not quite how life was supposed to turn out. As he spends his days wrestling his strong willed 5 year old Gracie into her school uniform, trying to reassure glamorous wife Daisy that life in the provinces is not as bad as she would like to believe, and desperately attempting to talk his mother out of her quest to appear on the vile Jeremy Kyle show, worrying over his increasingly frequent visits to the toilet is really the last thing he needs. And yet, the worst is still to come. Think a crumbling economy, redundancy, affairs, death, a family member challenging him in the novel writing stakes and a query over the big C – it's going to be a tough year for the Moles, and there's little that ol' Adrian can do except sit back and watch his life spin out of control around him.

The book starts in mid 2007 so, with a sense of déjà vu meets Flashforward we are transported to a world where all the smart people are investing their money in some Icelandic banks offering killer interest rates, a certain MP by the name of Pandora can stick expensive birthday presents on her parliamentary expenses and Adrian can keep himself busy in the Pick-and-Mix counter at Woolworths. Those were the days. It's really quite fun to read a book set in the recent, real past, if only for the ease with which you can predict the future and gloat accordingly, something made a bit trickier with books set longer ago in a time you might not recall so clearly. There is a subtle humour to the extracts that pick up on the world situation in the last eighteen months or so that is hard to resist breaking into a grin at.

Sue Townsend has a real knack for authentically capturing the voices of her wide ranging cast of characters in all her books, but Adrian remains one of my favourites and this book was even better than I'd expected it to be. I have managed to miss the 'adult' Adrian Mole books though I devoured the early editions as a teenager. Picking up the story twenty five years or so later, it's reassuring to see that little has changed. Adrian is still his wonderful, naive, hapless old self with ambitions that consistently fail to be realised. His close ally, Diary, provides a fabulous outlet for his venting, and a considerate ear for the worries that befall his personal life. He has clearly grown older, but not much wiser, since the publishing of his initial musings, but there is a certain charm to the bloke that just never goes away. Only a man of this calibre could take something as unsexy as a prostate problem and turn it into a hilarious yet touching tale, complete with all the ins, the outs, and the rectal exams.

I imagine that most people who will snap this title up will already be devotees of the Mole gang, and certainly knowing the history of the various relationships is helpful for setting context. There is no assumption that you will know Adrian's life so far, though, and no reason why you couldn't start with this book, and then work through the back catalogue.

This is a sweet book that won't fail to cheer you up on even the dampest and darkest of autumn days, and would be a great Christmas present for a fan of the series. They won't be disappointed.

Our thanks go to the publishers for sending us this book.

They couldn't have more different characters penning them, but if you like comedy diaries, the WAG's Diary also gets a thumbs up from us.

Booklists.jpg Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years by Sue Townsend is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.

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