Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole
Sue Townsend
 'If I turn out to be mentally deranged in adult life, it will be all my mother's fault.'

   This book begins right where its predecessor, The SecretDiary of Adrian Mole Age 13 ¾ , left off and retreads much of the same territory.
   The book is presented as the diary of Adrian Mole, now fifteen, and documents his daily life throughout the year.
    Over the course of the book we see his on again off again relationship with girlfriend Pandora take a rocky turn as she leaves him for another boy. The birth of his two siblings, half-sister Rosie (Fathered by his Mother’s ex, Lucas) and half-brother Brett, the result of his Father’s affair with Doreen Slater (the stick insect).
   Along with all this, Adrian has to deal with threats of exams, spots and the continual rejections of his poems by the BBC.

   The book retains the style of the previous entry in the series. The narrative plays out much as it would in real life, there’s no traditional three act structure and events unfold with the same uncertainty you’d expect of the real world. Adrian’s writing is still really funny and there are plenty of laughs to be had from his cockiness and gross misunderstandings of how the real world works.

   The main problem with the book is how little has changed. While I can understand Townsend’s wish to pick up straight where the first book left off, I personally would have preferred a bit of a gap between the two stories.
   Because no time has passed, Adrian is the same character he was in the last instalment. For me the joy of following a character throughout their life is the process of them growing up, their opinions changing, their perception of the world maturing. I’d hoped to see a side of Adrian that the 14 year old version would have been incapable off and, while there’s plenty more books in the series for that to happen in, it meant that this instalment felt like just “more of the same”, which was a real shame.

   Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very enjoyable book and if you loved the first chapter of Adrian’s life you’ll love this one too. I’d have just preferred a bit of a gap between the two, if that’s not the sort of thing that’s likely to bother you, I’d happily recommend you pick this one up. 

Sue Townsend

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