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Book review: <i>Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years</i> by Sue Townsend

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the cover of the book

I would never have considered the possibility of Adrian Mole growing old, were it not for the recent death of his creator Ms Townsend. So it was with a twinge of sadness for a lost childhood author that I picked up her last Adrian Mole story, because, let's face it, Adrian and I grew up together.

The story

Adrian Mole is getting on in years, but nothing seems to have changed. At the end of his last adventure (Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, I think), he had finally found love... real, proper, knee-trembling, requited love. But the candid diary of a man like Adrian is certainly not destined for a happily-ever-after... much like real life. He finds himself residing in a converted sty in the country, sharing a party wall with his parents. And while he shares a daughter with the love of his life, Daisy, and works in a bookshop for a man he adores, he fears that Daisy isn't as satisfied with their life together as he proclaims to be. Combine his marital issues with a preoccupation with his prostate and his ongoing infatuation with his childhood girlfriend Pandora, and here it is: a very honest diarised account of descent into middle age.

The style

It's classic Townsend, or, actually, classic Adrian Mole. While one can forgive the character for lack of development - his moronic lack of social perception is a large part of what makes him hilarious – the Adrian Mole in his late thirties is quieter and less exuberant than the Adrian Mole of my youth. There is a thoughtful quietness about this Adrian Mole, something adult. That isn't to say that the storyline isn't pretty predictable... it is. I could have predicted each turn of the book, and not just because Townsend loves a bit of a foreshadow to highlight Adrian's naivety. But still, as the reader, I was rooting for him. I wanted something good for this character with whom I grew up, the early diaries I loved so much and found so hilarious and easy to read ended up pretty dog-eared. I can't tell you what it is that appealed to me so much about him – I think a combination of ridiculous British humour with the awkwardness of adolescence, with a dash of over-the-top scenarios for flavour. Whatever the case, I was a fan for a good long stint into my twenties, and read each of the Adrian Mole diaries as they came out.

What I'm saying is, I liked it, if only for the purposes of nostalgia.

Who is this book for?

This book is definitely for fans of Adrian Mole's earlier diaries. If you haven't read them and pick this book up as your first foray into Sue Townsend, much of it will be lost on you. This is very much a sequel.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Sue Townsend has done other things, I believe. For some reason, also, I associate these books with The Young Ones... perhaps I watched a lot of them while reading the Adrian Mole diaries. If you prefer a less adolescent, but still British, diary, Bridget Jones is your obvious choice.

In short

Title: Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
Author: Sue Townsend
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0718153707
Year published: 2009
Genre(s): Humour, Fiction
Review Type: