I wanted to briefly write down some thoughts on a book I just finished called “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾” by Sue Townsend. As the title suggests, the story is told through the journal of the gawkish Adrian Mole. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as you really should read it for yourself without spoilers. It’s a short read, in any case.
Instead of trying to describe the characters, just let me show you a few quotes from Adrian’s diary:
A Nice Old-Age Pensioner
Adrian, in an attempt to fulfill the items on his New Year’s Resolutions list, tries to be a good samaritan by helping an old-aged pensioner. Unfortunately, he drew the short lot and got landed with Bert Baxter.
Bert Baxter is not a nice old age pensioner! He drinks and smokes and has an alsatian dog called Sabre. Sabre was locked in the kitchen while I was cutting the massive hedge, but he didn’t stop growling once.
Bert Baxter gave me ten pence and asked me to get him the Morning Star from the newsagent’s. So he is a communist as well as everything else! Sabre usually fetches the paper but he is being kept in as a punishment for chewing the sink.
Adrian’s love-life (or, more accurately, a love-triangle) is well encapsulated by this:
Midnight. Goodnight Pandora my treacle-haired love. XXXXXXXXX
Art was dead good today. I painted a lonely boy standing on a bridge. The boy had just lost his first love to his ex-best friend. The ex-best friend was struggling in the torrential river. The boy was watching his ex-best friend drown. The ex-best friend looked a bit like Nigel. The boy looked a bit like me. Ms Fossington-Gore said my picture ‘had depth’, so did the river. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Pandora and Nigel have split up! It is all round the school. This is the best news I have had for ages.
Adrian’s insane parents are perhaps the funniest, so I’ll not spoil much to do with them. On the resident bully, however:
Barry Kent has been done by the police for riding a bike without a rear light. I hope he gets sent to a Detention Centre. A short sharp shock will do him good.
In case it wasn’t clear from the other quotes, Adrian considers himself to be intellectually advanced and mature for his age and fancies himself a great poet. He feels underappreciated. Here’s a sample of his intellectual poetry:
Bert, you are dead old.
Fond of Sabre, beetroot and Woodbines.
We have nothing in common,
I am fourteen and a half,
You are eighty-nine.
You smell, I don’t.
Why we are friends
Is a mystery to me.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ is a fun and very entertaining read for adults and perhaps older children, with a lot of dry British humour. There are more books in the series, and I’ll read those when I can get my hands on them.
As a footnote, I just discovered that by utter coincidence, Penguin Books have listed this as one of eleven topical books to read in 2017!