Friday, July 27, 2018

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend


And you think you have problems?

Pity poor Adrian Mole. At the tender age of 13¾ he is struggling with his feuding parents, the school bully, the ungrateful family dog, insensitive teachers, a broken heart, and spots.

All of this and more is painstakingly, and hilariously, recorded in his daily diary entries. If you are a fan of a book in diary form, and I am, this one is for you. 

I am having a ball reading it and find myself laughing out loud or snorting softly at his take on his predicaments. Oh, the angst.

Adrian is often baffled by the ways of the world. (Aren't we all?) His sincerity in reporting his daily dilemmas is quite touching. All he wants is to make sense of life's perplexities.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13¾ by the English writer Sue Townsend has been on my TBR list for years. This first one was published in 1982 and there are seven in the series concluding with Adrian Mole, the Prostrate Years. It seems as if every British writer picks these diaries as their favorite funny book. Now, I can see why.

Here is a sampling of entries:

Saturday: I shall go mad through lack of sleep! My father has banned the dog from the house so it barked outside my window all night. Just my luck! My father shouted a swear-word at it. If he's not careful he will get done by the police for obscene language. 

I think the spot is a boil. Just my luck to have it where everybody can see it. I pointed out to my mother that I hadn't had any vitamin C today. She said, 'Go and buy and orange, then'. This is typical.

Sunday: Now I know I am an intellectual. I saw Malcolm Muggeridge on the television last night, and I understood nearly every word. It all adds up. A bad home, poor diet, not liking punk. I think I will join the library and see what happens.

It is a pity there aren't any more intellectuals living round here.

Wednesday: ROYAL WEDDING DAY!!!!! (Charles and Diana)
How proud I am to be English! Foreigners must be as sick as pigs! We truly lead the world when it comes to pageantry. I must admit to having tears in my eyes when I saw all the cockneys who had stood since dawn, cheering heartily all the rich, well-dressed, famous people going by in carriages and Rolls-Royces.

Sunday: My mother has gone to a woman's workshop on assertiveness training. Men aren't allowed. I asked my father what 'assertiveness training' is. He said, 'God knows, but whatever it is, it's bad news for me'.

Well, this book is definitely not bad news for me. It is a delight and makes for perfect bedtime reading. What better way to end the day than with a laugh. 


  1. I read this in 1989 and thought it was hilarious, but I never read any of the sequels. I think I should look for some of them. (P.S. I'm in the middle of Death on Demand, enjoying it, and making lists of some of the mysteries and authors mentioned, all thanks, I think, to your previous post!)

    1. Joan, I am impressed that you remember when you read this! I know you keep a list of books read, but that was almost 30 years ago. Good job! The edition I have has the second in the series included so I will be growing up with Adrian for a while. Not bad company to keep.

      Glad you are enjoying DoD. Pleasant reading.

    2. My memory isn't nearly that good. I keep my book lists on the ancient FileMaker program. It allows me to sort by title, author, or date read. Unfortunately, it's not very compatible with our new operating system so I'm looking for another program that's as uncomplicated as FileMaker.

    3. Old school most often wins the day, don't you think? Good luck with finding a simple system for your book lists. I probably have seven notebooks with lists of books read begun in various years and then left to languish. I guess I am not a reliable recordkeeper!

  2. I love books like this, especially when they make me laugh! Am putting this one on my list. Thanks for the rec. :)

    1. Lark, I don't know why it has taken me so long to get to Adrian and his diary. It is too funny! I think you will enjoy it. The edition I have includes the second in the series which makes me happy as I can just continue on and keep laughing.

  3. I haven't read this, either, but it sounds like lots of fun. I like books in diary form, too, and this reminds me of a teenaged boy version of Bridget Jones' Diary.

    1. Adrian is so funny even though he is not trying to be or is even aware of how droll he is.

      For some reason I have never read BJD (loved the movie) and although diary is in the title, it never occurred to me that the book was in that form! Now I want to read it. I just checked it out from the library! Thanks.