Friday, 26 August 2011


It's been a while since I read a book over night. I don't know if ADRIAN MOLE: THE WILDERNESS YEARS is all that gripping, but somehow I read it till 2am, and then when I woke up again at 4am finished it.

It is one of the sequels to Townsend's first great success, THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE AGED 13 3/4. Adrian is now in his early twenties, and still just as self-obssessed and miserable as ever. His day job is in the civil service, but his real focus is his novel LO, THE FLAT HILLS OF MY HOMELAND, which is as bad as it sounds.

It's a very funny, immensely readable little novel, though I find it difficult to put my finger on quite what is so entertaining about it. I think it is partly that Adrian is so honest in his diary, revealing the embarrassing secrets and dreams that everyone has. It's also the occasional glimpses one gets of the people in his life, who in their reported dialogue and actions are so very different from Adrian's narrow view of them.

At one point he writes to his sister that a donkey he sees in Greece reminds him of their dog. This endeared him to me. I had to give up a cat when I left London, and I found that not only did other cats remind me of my cat, but so did dogs, the cuter Masaai cattle, and adolescent giraffes. My London cat was all over Nairobi.

Over the course of this diary, Adrian loses his job, realises his novel is not very good, gets dumped, and in general begins to grow up, which gives the book a sweet and satisfying narrative arc.


  1. lol. An interesting book. the ending is kind of funny

  2. You are reading some really different sounding books. Again this sounds cute but only rather interesting rather than great, perhaps? Though a good sign that it kept you up reading!

  3. Yes it is a very charming little book! And you have to respect a book that can fill a whole night . . .

  4. Oh Adrian Mole! I read 'The Secret Diaries' over the summer and loved how brainless it gratifying when you just want a chuckle! I am now reading 'The Prostrate Years'...hilarious.

  5. It is a real skill, isnt it, just writing easy, laughable stuff. I totally admire her.