8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Modern Classic,
This review is from: Adrian Mole and The Weapons of Mass Destruction (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. Where Pandora had drifted overtly towards parody in Cappucino Years, she has regained some of her warmth and humanity, sharing some genuinely affecting scenes with Adrian.
There is the usual humour in this novel, but there are also moments of genuine pathos - with little corners of genuinely beautiful writing. Adrian's faith in Tony Blair and the WMD of the title is as heartbreaking as it is frustrating, and his eventual capitulation to the knowledge to which hindsight has made us all privelege, is brilliantly done.
If this is to be the final diary, it is a fitting epilogue. Within its pages, finally at the age of 35 (with two children) Adrian loses his innocence. The manner in which he comes to do so is the real coup de gras, and is what lifts this novel above its aspirations to make it something really rather special.
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Initial post: 19 Aug 2012 17:41:08 BDT
a really insightful review. I also loved this book. favourite para was poignant rather than funny for once. See page 178, when Ade sits on the stairs.
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