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Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Paperback – 7 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd; New edition edition (7 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718146905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718146900
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,211,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Leicester in 1946, Sue left school at 15 years of age. She married at 18, and by 23 was a single parent with three children. She worked in a variety of jobs including factory worker, shop assistant, and as a youth worker on adventure playgrounds. She wrote in secret for twenty years, eventually joining a writers' group at the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester in her thirties.

At the age of 35, she won the Thames Television Playwright Award for her first play, Womberang, and started her writing career. Other plays followed including The Great Celestial Cow (1984), Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (1990), and most recently You, me and Wii (2010), but she became most famous for her series of books about Adrian Mole, which she originally began writing in 1975.

The first of these, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ was published in 1982 and was followed by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984). These two books made her the best-selling novelist of the 1980s. They have been followed by several more in the same series including Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1993); Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004); and most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (2009). The books have been adapted for radio, television and theatre; the first being broadcast on radio in 1982. Townsend also wrote the screenplays for television adaptations of the first and second books and Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (published 1998, BBC television adaptation 2001).

Several of her books have been adapted for the stage, including The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾: The Play (1985) and The Queen and I: a Play with Songs (1994), which was performed by the Out of Joint Touring Company at the Vaudeville Theatre and toured Australia. The latter is based on another of her books, in which the Royal Family become deposed and take up residence on a council estate in Leicester. Other books include Rebuilding Coventry (1988), Ghost Children (1997) and Queen Camilla (2006).

She was an honorary MA of Leicester University, and in 2008 she was made a Distinguished Honorary Fellow, the highest award the University can give. She was an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Loughborough University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her other awards include the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin, and the Frink Award at the Women of the Year Awards. In 2009 she was given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester.

Her most recent novel, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, was published in 2012 by Michael Joseph and was a giant success, selling over half a million copies to date in the UK alone.

Product Description


As funny as anything Townsend has written, in which the loft-dwelling Mole wrestles with credit-card debt, WMD and where to find a dentist (Sunday Times)

The funniest book of the year. I can think of no more comical read (Jeremy Paxman Sunday Telegraph)

He will be remembered some day as one of England's great diarists (Evening Standard) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Sue Townsend is on of Britain’s bestselling authors. Her hugely successful novels include five Adrian Mole books, The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman (Aged 553/4) and Number Ten. She is also well known as a playwright. She lives in Leicester. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
The latest episode in the Adrian Mole story has arrived, and it is amazing how Sue Townsend manages to keep the story fresh and hilariously funny. This is not a book to read on a train or other public venue and I for one found myself laughing aloud and giggling with amusement as the twists and turns of this diary unfold. Mole's potential for disaster and embarrassment continue unabated and the whole sage of his engagement to the awful Marigold plays out throughout the book.
Alongside Adrian's story we also catch up with his children and his parents, and of course the lovely Pandora, now a junior government Minister. These books are nothing if not topical and reading it is also a political history of the last two years, as Tony Blair stumbles deeper into the morass of Iraq, stretching the loyalty even of Adrian and ultimately Pandora. Other contemporary themes occuring in the book include the property improvement fad, credit card debt, the impact of ethnic cultures on the face of Britain and the animal rights movement.
There are some wonderful new characters in the book too - Adrian's employer, Marigold's sister, and of course the awful potential-father in-law Mr Flowers. While Sue Townsend of course encourages to laugh at Adrian's escapades, she also manages to make us sympathise with him and to identify with some of the problems he experiences. A wonderfully warm and human book, very easy to read, and well worth catching up with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 29 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Is it the last volume of the Adrian Mole saga? Of course not. I doubt it very much. There is no end to a good recipe, a ratatouille or a beef and kidney pie. But we'll see. This volume is extremely interesting. For our Adrian Mole is still Adrian Mole. He is naïve and he is sending to us a very simple-minded vision of the world that is absolutely disarming - a must with the title we know - in naivety and vanity. This vain naivety or naïve vanity is his trademark and it is marvelously refreshing. It could probably not break a man's arm, but it can break, even smash, a man's despair. And this here volume is still a perfect example, at the age of 35, nearly middle-aged, of this entertaining village philosopher from Leicester. The book is also fascinating because we are in 2002-2004 and the central problem is the war on Iraq and Blair's support, till the day when he acknowledges there were no WMDs. The political question is systematically shown through the opinions of various people. Adrian is pro-Blair and he supports his own son when he is sent to Iraq, though he is frightened by the prospect of his son's death for and with no cause, and actually the son's best friend is killed by shrapnel. Pandora is against the war and she resigns from Blair's government. And between the two we find all kinds of shades. The dramatic dimension of the problem is strong because of the son's position in the armed forces. At the same time the book criticizes all kinds pf shortcomings of Blair's policy and of capitalistic greed. Adrian and his father are confronted to the National Health Service, and Adrian is suddenly thrown into bankruptcy by greedy banks and various store- or credit-card providers as well as by his vain desire to live over his means.Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Langley on 11 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
This latest instalment in the Mole series is probably the most absorbing, touching and bittersweet of them all. There are a number of various themes running through the book including debt, trust in politicians, dealing with incompetent and bullying authorities, and aging parents. However, the main purpose of this book seems to be a vehicle for anti-Iraq war sentiments, which is where my only (and very mild) criticism arises. The arguments, made subtly and not so subtly, are obviously made with the benefit of hindsight. Adrian is made to look something of a fool for supporting the war, but he was certainly not in the (more vocal) minority at that time (2002/3).
As ever, there are some hilarious moments that make you laugh out loud, but a few more moments of despair and sadness. The unrealistic adventures of Pandora and Barry Kent thankfully take a back seat in this diary, but there are some new and strange characters for Adrian to deal with. And at 450+ pages, there is plenty to get your teeth into.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 13 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is the best yet , the character of Adrian Mole makes you laugh,cry,angry,sad.Sue Townsend has definately done it agin.She weaves the rich tapestry of adrians life around him like a warm coat in winter.
From the madness of adrian's girlfriend marigold to the experinces of glen bott (now in the army).The story about Nigels eyesight is prophetic and funny at the same time.I read this book in 3 days , i just could not put it down.I'm starting it again now.
Buy it,Steal it,Beg it..Just read it.
Thanks Sue..This book will be always cherished.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Bulgin on 9 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Rumoured to be the last Adrian Mole book, this is also the best.
From the surreal departure of The Cappucino Years, Adrian is just about where we would expect him to be: in Leicester, working in a bookshop, and going nowhere very quickly. Having picked celebrity culture and multi-culturalism as her themes for his previous diary, Townsend chooses the credit spiral and the Gulf War as her focus for this one. Whilst her agenda pertaining to the war is thinly veiled, the manner in which she addresses it is both intelligent and profoundly moving.
Adrian himself is very much recognisable as the character from the earlier diaries - though his trademark delusional aspirations have begun to be wearied by age. He maintains a child like faith in authority, and an inability to adequately deal with the burden of responsibility of adult life, but is somehow changing.
There is a craft at work in The Weapons of Mass Destruction, and a lightness of touch, that is a notch above the previous diaries. Townsend has always shown herself to be a very good writer of popular fiction, in this tome she proves herself to be a great one. The characters are at once beautifully rendered and endlessly complex, and there is a linguistic dexterity at work which is amongst the best of her peers. Whereas there has been a sense in the past that Townsend has mocked her anti-hero, there is a clear feeling here that she's learned to love him - and give him more respect. To this end, she also affords him a more creditable relationship with his life-long peers - notably Pandora and Nigel - suggesting plausible relationships, based on shared history and a true, hidden fondness.
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