'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Review: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4

Adrian Mole's first secret diary is the forerunner to many contemporary funny kids titles, such as Diaries of a Wimpy Kid, The Misadventures of Max Crumbly, Timmy Failure and The Odd Squad

Adrian Mole is obsessed with his health, then he falls in love, only to watch others embrace the object of his desires and to top it all off, the neighbours are getting divorced.

The genius behind Adrian's diaries are the clues he reveals about other people's shenanigans, which elude him until it's too late. There was the time kind Mr Lucas visited Adrain's Mum when she is sick in bed. The next thing Adrian heard was that Mr Lucas was getting divorced and his mum landed a job at Mr Lucas's work. You get the idea.

The narrative of Adrian Mole breaks the rules in terms of readership age. Anyone between 13 and 113 will laugh both at and with Adrian. I'm not so sure it's suitable for younger readers.

Themes like first love and lust, best friends, betrayal, bullies and crazy pets are all part of the mix but so are references to adult women who prey on Adrian's naivety.

With a dad who has been made redundant and O levels looming, Adrian decides to become an intellectual, then a poet and even a vet. These random but sincere decisions are made while Adrian tries to cope with his mother's departure and her imagined sexual adventures.

Closer to home, Adrian wonders if Pandora will ever notice his irresistible charms. He worries he'll  starve to death when his dad loses his credit card just before the weekend.

Reading Adrian's diary and the way he intermingles world-shattering news with updates on the size of the spot on his chin is like walking around inside a thirteen year old's brain. Still in print after more than 35 years, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is a classic that deserves a few hours of your time.

When you've finished chortling, you can decide if it's safe to release to your teenagers.

Title: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4
Author: Sue Townsend
Publisher: Penguin Books, $19.99
Publication Date: 19January 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780141046426    
For ages: 12 years+
Type: Young Adult Fiction