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on 21 July 2003
I first read this book, and it's predecessor The Secret Diary of..., when I started High School (1986 sshhh..!).Having just re-read them both over the last 2 weeks, I was delighted to find that they are as hysterical as ever!
Growing Pains starts where Secret Diary leaves off and it retains the pace of the first instalment. The Diary factor makes the book very easy to read and you will find yourself laughing out loud at/with Adrian as he makes his way as an'intellectual' teenager in an adult world that he actually understands very little about.
The resident love of his life, Pandora, is still present in Growing pains, as are Bert Baxter and Sabre, his Gran, Mr Lucas, Stick Insect, Barry Kent and best mate, Nigel.
Don't let the early 80's setting put you off. I think the book is all the better for it and love the old references to Abba, Street Parties and legwarmers.
This book is a classic!!! Buy it immediately!!
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2007
It's 1982 : Margaret Thatcher is Prime-Minister and Britain is at war with Argentina over a couple of sheep-infested islands in the South Atlantic. Meanwhile, the second instalment of the Mole Diaries is being written by a spotty, fifteen year old intellectual from Leicester.

Adrian proves to be a slightly different character in this book - I suppose he's actually grown up a little. He still has a pretentious streak, he continues to be a touch insensitive at times, he doesn't always see the blindingly obvious and he still (mistakenly) sees himself as an intellectual. However, sometimes, he gets the point all too well and delivers a well-penned (not to mention a well-deserved) kick in the arse. "The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole" covers a traumatic period for Adrian : his O-Levels and CSEs are looming while the significant fallout from his parents affairs have to be dealt with. He's still in love with Pandora, though the path of true love has a few tumbles in store for our spotty Lothario. (He's very keen to see a bit more loving, though he'd happily settle for a glimpse of nipple. Pandora, on the other hand, isn't in quite such a rush). The young couple still help Bert Baxter (a war veteran in his eighties) and Queenie (Bert's recently acquired second wife). Despite Bert's hobbies - drinking, smoking and communism - Bert appears to be one of the closest friends Adrian has. Adrian still has the problem of Barry Kent, the school bully : however, some very surprising progress is made over the course of the year.

Starting in April 1982 and finishing in May 1983, some of the big news stories at the time are touched on - the arrival of breakfast television in the UK, the kidnapping of Shergar and the Falklands War, Overall, it does prove to be a very funny book - though there are a couple of sad moments and a few serious points made. Depressingly, some of the points Adrian makes are just as relevant today as they were over twenty years ago. Listening to Radio Four at one point, Adrian notes that the government has decided to spend a billion pounds on war equipment. He then mentions that one of his school's science laboratories is being closed down because it can't afford to employ a new teacher. (Blair is throwing money at the Iraq War having conveniently forgotten all about "education, education, education"). Then Adrian's Irish neighbour, Mr O'Leary, returns to Ireland to vote in the Irish General Election. On his way back to Leicester, however, Mr O'Leary is detained at the East Midlands Airport on being suspicion of being a terrorist. (Admittedly, today the focus has shifted a different group). Later, when a General Election is called in the UK, one of the candidates mentioned is Duncan McIntosh. A member of the "Send `Em Back Where They Came From Party", Mr McIntosh advocates compulsory repatriation of people with black, brown and yellow skin, the Irish, the Welsh, the Scottish and all those with Norman blood. (With all the recent hysteria about immigrants, Mr McIntosh's party would probably have a good shout at government). Well worth reading, and highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2014
The second volume in the series of Adrian Mole books, another re-read from my youth. This covers the period from the Falklands War in April 1982 to the eve of the general election in June 1983, when Adrian is just about to sit his O levels (as was I). These first two books were really good, and the humour is laugh out loud funny. The early 1980s do feel like a different world in many ways, a world without the internet and mobile phones. I was shyer than Adrian, but my family background was a lot more stable.
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on 3 June 2009
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.
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on 28 May 2014
I haven't read these since they were first published, so I wasn't sure about revisiting them. However they still make me laugh and wince at the teenage seriousness of Adrian. A classic character stands the test of time, and Master Mole certainly does that.
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on 14 May 2014
A beautifully written and observed book. Even at 59 I can still relate to some of the emotional roller-coaster that Adrian Mole expresses for us in his diary. His earnestness, honesty and innocence. About to embark on the next Adrian Mole book.
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on 27 October 2003
Adrian Mole is an extremely funny book. While I read it on my bed I couldn't stop laughing. It explains the true thoughts and moments of adolescence which makes it quite realistic. It recently won funniest book of the year which, if you read it you will understand that it definetly deserved that prize.
Relationship, humour, whatever, everything is in this book.
I would reccomend this book to young teenagers, as that is when I first read it, and middle aged adults.
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on 21 April 2014
This really made Me smile in places. Enjoyed it more than the first book. Read it in a day on a bank holiday Monday when there was nothing on the TV! Will be reading the rest at some point in the future!
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on 16 August 2013
This is something I read when I was 12-13. Even though I (and my pals) read it translated into another language it was still hilarious. Hence, I just had to introduce Adrian to my 14-years-old son. So far, he likes reading about Adrian's life. Not sure my son finds A. as amusing as we did; suppose his sense of humour is a bit different to mine. Anyway, Adrian Mole's diaries are high on my list of recommended reading for teenagers (boys and girls!)
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on 24 July 2012
What a fab book, I have read both the first, and the second Adrian Mole Book. And although it is old, it is certainly a classic. You should read this book, I know you will love it.......<3. There are certainly lots of funny bits in, but also some sad parts too, Adrian talks about how his life will change forever, [ you will know what mean when you read]. I don't want to give anything away, so chill out, relax and get ready for a book full of laughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bought the kindle edition by the way.......................
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