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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years
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on 7 May 2017
Sue Townsend does it again just as funny as when I read them 30 years ago. Can't wait to read the rest
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on 13 September 2012
I began reading this book with an uneasy feeling that the author had already taken her subject as far as it could go, but the quality of this fifth episode in the Adrian Mole series is at least the equal of its predecessors. Sue Townsend's brilliance shines through the subtle changes in writing style which she uses to reflect Adrian's growing maturity and the changing facets of his life. The wry humour is still there and the author lampoons low budget TV production companies, breakfast TV presenters, local radio DJ's and, in particular, the rich and famous who are prepared to pay through the nose to eat very ordinary food whilst being insulted by the aristocratic owner of the trendy Hoi Polloi restaurant. But Sue Townsend is never judgemental or didactic. Her thoughts flow gently from her easy, natural style and she leaves us to form our own opinions. We cannot be certain that she would not be seen dining at the Hoi Polloi.

Given Adrian's youthful leanings towards socialism, we might expect his diary to contain more political comment but, beyond a New Year's resolution to give Blair another chance, he remains strangely silent. Sue Townsend is far too clever to go for the obvious. She makes a much stronger statement through Pandora, who was so sure of her rectitude as a teenager but has become arrogant, self serving, nauseating and morally bankrupt as an adult. Her election to Parliament and appointment as a junior minister, based more on her stunning good looks than any real substance, says more about Blair's Government than Adrian ever could.

The author's premise, that life would be so much more enjoyable if only we ceased to worry about it, is neatly supported by the increasing dichotomy between her two protagonists. Pandora is the ambitious, self assured high achiever with multiple degrees, but she is becoming increasingly stressed as the demands of her high profile career force her to lose control of her life. Adrian is a complete plank in his relationships with the opposite sex and is equally wooden as an author. Despite the breadth of his reading, he fails to see any connection between George Orwell and Eric Blair and believes the literary success of Joyce and Dostoyevsky is due to their consumption of potatoes. But he can always be relied upon to do the decent thing when called to support his fellow man. Ultimately, it is his refusal to worry which makes him the happier of the two and it is his faults and frailties which make him the more endearing.
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on 22 October 1999
Someone should slap an English Heritage plaque on the cover of The Cappuccino Years. Because not only is this one of the funniest, most bittersweet books I have read for ages, and a more than worthy successor to the other Mole books, Sue Townsend has written about Britain in the late 90s more accurately than any other recent writer I can remember. It takes a brilliantly satirical look at Blair's Britain, the spin doctors, the Cool Britannia tag, the over-priced restaurants, the decline of the nuclear family, and so on. She has said that the new Labour government is like a cappuccino - all froth and very little substance. Well, this book is all substance, but with loads of froth to make you genuinely laugh out loud. Her comic timing and sense of wit is as great as ever. This isn't just a comic masterpiece, it's quite simply a stunningly good look at what life is like in our country today. Adrian ends the book with two sons, no home and no job, and I can't wait to see where he's at when he's forty. More please!
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on 13 November 1999
Adrian Mole reminds me of Peter Pan... perhaps he shouldnt have grown up, and remained the spotty, geeky, unlucky-in-love-and-in letters kid, whose teenage diaries I have enjoyed reading and re-reading over the years. Nevertheless, we all do grow up, and so has Adrian, and I think he hasn't turned out for the best. The hysterical laughter returns quite a few times while reading of his latest exploits, and it is not a bad installment of Adrian's life stories, but Mole fans will understand my feelings when I say that this book is different from the others. As a teenager I felt for Adrian, as an adult I'm not so sure that he is a nice guy at all! Perhaps Ms. Townsend felt the time had come the record straight! It's worth reading, but I cant guarantee that instead of non-stop giggles, readers will be left with a wry smile.
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on 9 December 1999
A great return to the mole series. I could not put this book down. It turned out perhaps a bit more serious than the previous mole books but Adrian returns still a bit out of the loop and yet endearing. The only complaint I have is that I wish he would get over haughty Pandora. Truly, however, a fantastic return!!!
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on 28 February 2000
I loved all the early ones, and couldn't wait for this one. While still hilariously funny, I found it much more insightful, and indeed touching. Looking through the other reviews, I noticed that somebody had classed Adrian as 'not a nice guy.'All you have to do is read about the relationship he develops with his sons, and you'll realise just what a caring, affectionate, cool kinda a guy he his. I would like to quote the ending few lines, but I don't want to give it away. I think it's fair to say, though, that despite his 'weird' exteriour, Adrian turns out to be a DAMN nice guy. Funny, thought inducing, touching-another Mole classic!
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on 1 July 2017
The Adrian Mole books are up and down for me. I loved the first, second and fourth, didn't care for the second and this one. The books work best as a series of diary scribbles, attempts to get a more coherent plot going kill it.
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on 9 November 1999
I received this book in the mail today, and finished it just a few minutes ago, having read it straight through. It was that good! I have been a lifelong fan of the Adrian Mole series ever since I read the first volume while living in the UK about 15 years ago, and have ordered The Cappucino Years through Amazon UK as this volume is unavailable in the states. Although I was intially disappointed that about 4 years were skipped over from when The Wilderness Years ended, during which time Adrian was married, witnessed the birth of his son William, and subsequently divorced, Townsend adequately covered these via Adrian's introspection. In a sense, the book was set at an appropriate time, being framed during a rather tumultuous time in English history, what with the death of Princess Diana and the rise of the New Labour government. By having these events play in the background, Townsend makes the book more current, allowing the reader to more closely associate with the characters, while allowing Adrian and those he loves to reflect attitudes, fears, and hopes of the English people during this time. Although I agree with previous reviews that had hoped for more character development from Adrian, especially considering the hopeful ending of The Wilderness Years, Adrian has changed in many profound ways, as seen by the relationship he has with his two sons. From these relationships, what one suspects from previous volumes is confirmed: that despite Adrian's delusions of grandeur and sometimes incredibly selfish and anal behavior, he is generally a good, solid, and dependable guy. Great book! I advise all to order it, especially fellow Americans who haven't heard of the Adrian Mole diaries and want to try something different!
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on 15 January 2000
No, you can't say it's a flop. But it's far from being one of the best books I have read recently. You can clearly see that Sue Townsend is a skilled and experienced author who manages to create quite some empathy for poor Adrian. New children freshly created lurking behind every corner, houses burning down, people stepping out of the shower to say that we got it all wrong - oops, that was a completely different story... Adrian's efforts at becoming a writer are so poor and so very obviously boring that we sometimes have to ask ourselves if we are still in the target group for this book. Adrian remains quite flat, trivial and sometimes even boring. I myself have just turned 34, maybe I could sit down and start writing my autobiography this far? What I could offer (authentic material): marriage, divorce, career, child, problems as a father figure, a house which I lost - any interested publishers around? Oh, you are saying who cares? Then perhaps that's a good question to ask Ms Townsend as well.
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on 17 November 2012
I love this book sue townsend has created yet another hilariously funny book in the series. Adrian Mole is a strange boy who doesn't have a clue what to do with himself constantly trying to find some kind of aim in life. Sue townsend is amazing at managing to make it sound so realistic it is a must-read.
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