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The Angst Continues,
This review is from: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (Hardcover)
After reading the first book in this series, I proceeded to buy all of the others and I'm reading through them (I won't say "working my way through them" because reading Sue Townsend cannot be described as "work"). That a woman well into her adult years has channeled the angst of a teenage boy fairly screams of chutzpah - that she does it so believably and humorously is nothing short of a miracle.
Adrian Mole is in the wrong place at the wrong time. His parents are in financial trouble; Margaret Thatcher is ruling the country with an iron fist; he is madly in love; he has spots. Adrian is an astoundingly naive teenager, but also kind and loving in ways that are surprising. He takes care of his elderly friends Bert and Queenie with a tenderness that belies his occasional selfish behavior. At one point in the book, he writes a poem about Queenie, and it moved me to tears.
Make no mistake, however. This novel is riotously funny.
Reference: "I lay back listlessly on the pillows and let him feel my pulse, etc. He muttered 'Bloody Camille,' as he left the room. Perhaps Camille is a drug that he's thinking of using on me." (an excellent example of the naivete, as well as the humor)
I read several passages out loud to my husband, and because I am not a native-born Brit, there were some referenced he had to explain to me. All of Adrian's experiences take place against a backdrop of Prince William's birth, the Falklands War, the Thatcher administration and the ramp-up of fears over nuclear war. I remember very well being worried about these things (I was about Adrian's age at the time they were happening) and I also remember how much of my day I spent worrying about things I couldn't control. Sue Townsend manages the reality of this feeling masterfully.
I can't wait to move on to the True Confessions of Adrian Mole.