A Brief Book Aside: The Adrian Mole Diaries, 1 & 2

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 6:10 PM By Simon

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ is an unabashed, pimples-and-all glimpse into the troubled life of an
adolescent. Writing candidly about
his parents’ marital troubles, the dog, his life as a tortured poet and ‘misunderstood intellectual’, teenager Adrian Mole’s painfully honest diary makes hilarious and compelling reading.

Really, reading Adrian Mole, he sounds like a prick. This is, obviously, on purpose. In his journal entries, he chronicles his daily life with increasing self-absorbtion and thick-headedness, naively writing up his desperate life without realizing just how dysfunctional it is becoming. His parents sporadically break and make up, lovechildren are fathered, affairs are had, families feud, and in the midst of it all, Adrian can only focus on his on-and-off onetruelove Pandora, one of those hyper-intellectual girls these sorts of books always have as a love interest.

Sue Townsend, in the grand (pre)tradition of Katherine Bigelow, seems to know men (and teenaged boys) better than men themselves. She writes his entries with a mix of pretentious musings, infuriating self-pity, and a sort of childlike indignation at all things 'morally corupt'. Often, once you get past the bewildering Britishness of it, the books are actually very funny, in a heartbreaking way. I mean, this kid is on welfare (or 'dole', I guess), his parents can't stay together for more than a month, border on neglectful, he is pretty much friendless, and yet he retains his delusions of grandeur, sharing his awful poetry and rejection letters from the BBC, and you can just see the shit-eating grin on his face as he writes.

This series begs to be a movie, but fortunately it doesn't look to be happening. Anyway, it's kind of hysterical, so go read it.


Sam Turner said...

I've never got round to reading this. One day though, I'll pick it up. Bizzarely, I actually think the sequel (or one of them) is on my shelf at home - not sure where that came from!

April 30, 2010 at 4:29 AM
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