40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Sue Townsend proves yet again that she is one of the funniest novelists writing today. The latest installment in the Adrian Mole series sees our protagonist nearing the age of 40, living with his wife and daughter, and suffering not only from his ever-dysfunctional familiy, but also from prostate cancer. Despite the awfulness of his disease - which Townsend in no way plays down - the book is still laugh-out-loud funny throughout. I can't think of any other writer who combines heart-wrenching pathos with genuine humour so effectively. Somehow, the sadness makes the funny bits funnier, and the humour makes the tragedy all the more painfully real to the reader.
Adrian is still very much the same person as the teenager Townsend first introduced many years ago. Many of the other old favourite characters are there too - older, but not necessarily wiser. There is Pandora, Labour MP and still the secret love of Adrian's life; his parents, George and Pauline, now elderly but still keen to appear on the Jeremy Kyle show; Adrian's unlikely best friend Nigel - gay, blind, living with his guide dog and civil partner; and of course Glenn, Adrian's eldest son, currently fighting in Afghanistan. Others, however, are notable by their absence; the Braithwaite parents and Barry Kent don't get more than a mention.
There are plenty of the usual satirical side-swipes at modern society which make you both laugh and wince. Townsend cleverly incorporates many of the newsworthy events from 2007 and 2008 without it ever seeming forced - from the collapse of Icesave and Woolworths to MP's expenses and post office closures. Townsend has a gift for capturing the spirit of an age and using real-life events in her books in a realistic way. If you read Sebastian Faulks' 'A Week In December' - a novel set in a similar time frame - you will admire Townsend all the more for her skill in writing about everyday life in the 21st century. Faulks may be a serious-literary-heavyweight type but Townsend outperforms him effortlessly in this genre.
I read this book in the space of a weekend, hardly able to put it down, and was left wishing it was longer. Quite probably the best thing I've read all year. Definitely one to add to the Christmas list!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2009
Another extremely funny, extremely touching installment of the Mole saga, which continues to build into something utterly magnificent. The subtle but deadly accurate social/political satire remains spot on, as Mole enters the era of the credit crunch and increasing global uncertainty. (At least Woolworths will always be with us, he muses at one point.) The characters just get stronger and stronger. I wondered if Sue Townsend could write anything as wonderful as Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, but she has done so here. Her comic abilities continue to mature as Mole grows older and (slightly) wiser. It's so good that you have to force yourself not to read it in one sitting.
The ending is left wide open. Is it too much to hope for another volume?
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2009
I opened the package containing this book less than 24 hours ago and have just finished it. Despite work the next day, I found myself still reading at two this morning! What is it about the Adrian Mole books that are so absorbing? The sagas of his family and friends are both hilarious and emotional and it is fascinating to see some of the minor characters last heard from years ago as children reappearing as adults. The books also map out the major events of the last 3 decades and capture the zeit-geist of the different eras: the 80s, 90s and now the Noughties.
I don't wish to give a summary of this book here - suffice it to say, the trials and tribulations of 2007/2008 are all mentioned and it looks as though poor old Adrian gets the short straw once again.
Will our hero (I think anti-hero is a bit unfair) now forty, ever write something someone actually wants to publish, find someone to share his life with who isn't going to abandon him and stand up to the various "friends", relatives and petty officials who make his life a misery? Will his parents ever grow up or remain teenagers in pensioners bodies?
It's a pity I read this so fast because I'll have to wait another 4 years until the next instalment comes out. That's assuming Sue Townsend is planning on one. If she isn't she's left one almighty cliff-hanger ending!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2009
Ive been an avid avid reader of Mr Mole's exploits for many many years, I still remember the first time I picked up The Growing Pains Of... and began reading thinking...Is This Lad For Real?!! I love Adrian Mole, long story short he's just such a fabulously irratable yet endearing character whose views and obbsessions captivated us all. I mean I had no real clue about any of the earlier books social settings and themes but despite that I could still read and enjoy it for what it was.
The Prostate Years though. More woeful than any of the other books to date, even the drearily titled The Wilderness Years has more happiness to offer than this does. Problems arise just from about anywhere and everywhere given the opportunity to flourish, which they do indeed, watered with the food of discontent. But still you stick by him (even if his estranged wives cannot),and you still love him and want him to do right by himself just for once. The best thing I find about Adrain Mole as a character is you wait fror the next book to come out and its like an old friend is coming to visit, hes just so human for a paper bound book of ink and imagination.
If your a fan I'd definately recommend this, but if you are buying it because you've never heard of either the author or character before Id suggest reading the older ones first and working your way towards this one. And thats not to say you couldnt appreciate it for what it is, but honestly its totally worth the effort. The feeling I got when you read this one to end is incredible. Not for a long time have I read a book to the end and actually CHEERED when I read the last line. It kept me up from 11:30 pm till 8:30am!!! I got the book for Christmas and had been picking it up and putting it down, but I had to STOP that behaviour as I couldnt stop thinking about it and had to FINISH IT!
Sue Townsend has again, in my opinion written another masterpiece volume to the Adrian Mole Saga, as it is now a fully fledged SAGA-force to be reckoned with.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2010
Having read the Adrian Mole books many years ago, I came across this by accident. I have to agree with the other reviewers on here who recommend not reading it if you have an early start next day. I read until five in the morning, leaving myself feeling all the "older" next day. If you have grown with Adrian, just buy this book and enjoy. It is sad and funny, much as getting older, and one of my favourite reads of the year.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2010
My second letter to you. I hope you're feeling better my friend because I'm not prepared to let you go. It is in fact with much anticipation that I wait to read your next Diary*. I also read your (brevis) Literary CV with interest and, with all due respect (forgive me Adrian, perhaps I'm being unappreciative of your efforts) I think that it would be a brilliant idea to have the Diaries published instead, all of them. Why don't you ask "that Sue Townsend" for some help about that? (like I suggested in my previous letter, also via Amazon; she is very well known in the trade for helping out unsuccessful but gifted authors like yourself). Because you see, I feel that without realising it, you have produced some fantastic work with the Diaries, and everybody should know about you!
As I said, I'm really looking forward to your next Diary Adrian. Please send it to me as soon as it is finished. You are such a special person. You have kept me company for so many years, I have laughed with gusto, and often had a lump in my throat reading about your depressing moments. And trust me, I think that if you decide to publish your Diaries (please contact Sue Townsend), they will be a HUGE success! (This could lead to hordes of women at your feet begging you to marry them, and you could easily forget about your marital problems).
My best regards to your family and a big hug to you, my best wishes for a long and healthy life! From your affectionate reader
I LOVE BOOKS X
*Although he has never mentioned me in his Diaries (at my request), Adrian & I go back a long time, we met in Leicester years ago and we share our love for books.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2010
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? Like many other reviewers I read it in the space of a weekend, utterly impossible to put down as it was. One cannot help but love the geeky "Aidy", and to hear of his battle with "the big c" is so poignant, I found myself moved to tears on more than one occasion. However it was not only his ill health which touched me, but his misfortune in love (again), his dedication as a father and reading about his parents growing old (the same parents we have been reading about for the past 25 years in Mole-time!). And of course his first true love Pandora.
Aside from the above this book is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Quite often I was asked by an indignant husband "what's so funny?" and when I explained the joke he didn't always appreciate it, having not read any of the other AM books. That's the thing with this character - once you have read one of his diaries, you feel as though you really know him, so that when he comes out with the inevitiable "mole-isms" you cannot prevent a huge grin from spreading across your face. His letters to the PM are particularly hilarious.
No detail has been overlooked, the irony is so very subtle but razor-sharp, and I am already panicking that eventually our hero will have to close his beloved diary for good.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The normal helping, but as always well written, entertaining, and funny, of the downward spiral of world's unluckiest man. Adrian Mole has very little, if anything to be pleased or happy about. His life to date has been one long series of misfortunes, calamities, disappointments, and general 'downers' resulting in where he now finds himself in "The Prostrate Years", living in a converted pigsty next door to his parents.
For the first 95% of the book (Kindle) his life follows a predictable pattern of bad luck, bad luck and bad luck, with some of it, admittedly as a result of his own doing but the arrival of a diagnosis of Prostrate Cancer and the ensuing pathos, introduces a big dollop of sympathy, indeed pity for him as he has to battle with his illness without much emotional support from his family or his straying wife Daisy.
And then in the final few pages, his luck begins to turn for the better in a number of directions, culminating in the arrival in his driveway of the love of his life since childhood days, the dynamic, ambitious and beautiful Pandora Braithwaite BA,MA, PhD, MP and Junior Minister in the Foreign Office, who had recently shown a reignitement of their old passions.
Maybe Sue Townsend has set the scene for, perhaps the final book of the wretched Adrian Mole's thus far sorrowful existence, with a storyline that might let this poor soul find happiness, love and contentment? If the author's previous predilections with the more morose aspects of human nature hold constant then I wouldn't bet on it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Like countless other people I have been following the saga of Adrian Mole since he was a mere adolescent. In recent years he dropped out of my consciousness but last month I decided to catch up and see what had happened to him. I was surprised to find his story as funny and interesting as ever and as I turned the pages I found myself more and more absorbed with the familiar characters and places who inhabit Adrian's native Leicester.
This is one of those books which makes you feel genuinely disappointed when you finish it. I can now hardly wait for the next volume (assuming Adrian survives!).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I have always loved Adrian Mole. I grew up with him and have fond memories of laughing myself sick over the first book and loving each additional volume as it came out. This is no exception. As a Leicester girl myself I get an added kick of knowing lots of the places Townsend writes about and feeling a greater affinity with Adrian because of it.
Townsend's work gets darker as she gets older, and this book is the bleakest of the lot, but suffused throughout with an affection for her characters and a wicked humour that makes the tragic aspects of the story slightly more bearable. I did find myself shedding a small tear here and there as Adrian blunders his way through another failing marriage and the miseries of cancer, but also roaring with laughter in places. Pauline Mole goes from strength to strength in this book, and is, I think, my favourite character. The ongoing saga of Rosie's parentage and the Jeremy Kyle show was wonderfully light relief.
I loved it.