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The Queen in Hell Close (Pocket Penguins) Paperback – 6 May 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (6 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141022612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141022611
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,213,189 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

About the Author

Sue Townsend, with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 A (1982) and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole(1984), was Britain's bestselling author of the 1980s. Her other hugely successful novels include Adrian Mole: The Wildnerness Years (1993), The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman (Aged 55 A ) (2001), Number Ten (2002) and most recently Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004). Most of her books are published by Penguin. She is also well known as a playwright. She lives in Leicester.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Bourne on 8 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Excellent, witty story about how the Queen survives living on a council estate with her family. A snapshot of real life in Britain today. If you ever thought that the Royal family has no idea of how ordinary folk live, you will love reading about how the Royals deal with our everyday problems. My sympathy is with the Queen! I hope she reads this - its hilarious! Leaves you wanting to know more.
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Format: Paperback
Released by Penguin as part of a `taster' book series given away with The Times and Starbucks in 2007, this is an extract from Sue Townsend's 1992 book THE QUEEN AND I, which imagines Britain as a republic with the Royal Family stripped of their wealth and privilege and relocated to a council estate. The problem with the extract is that even in 2007, this would have felt dated. For starters, Princess Diana is still alive and still married to Prince Charles, albeit having doubts about her marriage. In 1992 this was probably hilarious. Knowing the history in between, it loses something.

The extract mainly focuses on the Queen who has no money, has been forced to apply for benefits but in the meantime has nothing to feed her family with. Townsend clearly feels a lot of affection for the Queen, who's struggling to cope with where she's wound up and still trying to make the best of it, even though Prince Phillip is confined to bed with depression. There's satire to be had from her battles with the DSS to get emergency cash to tide her over and a hint at something more sinister going on with forces determined to crush the Royal Family once and for all.

Characters are broad brush at best, plot is slow as the novel seems to me more about introspection and everything just feels out of date. All in all, this extract, while inoffensive wouldn't make me rush to buy THE QUEEN AND I and in truth, it left me feeling meh about the whole thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Brooks on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disapointing. Did not realise book was only a few short pieces from a larger book, so for us was a waste of money. Amazon service and supplier excellent as always.
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Format: Paperback
Beware, Sue Townsend fans. This is NOT a new angle of the queen living it up as a commoner in a council house but only a few short (and ultimately disappointing) excerpts from the hugely popular and funny book, "The Queen and I". If you haven't read the latter do so, it is much, much better!
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By Jupiter on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Carefully done so that all the money is paid as postage so you are unlikely to return it when you find it is only a few pages long and excepts from the main book only. Absolute con
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