Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

Has anyone besides me read this book and the sequels, by Sue Townsend? These books have been my favourite since I can remember, and today I was having withdrawels…so I borrowed “Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years” from the library…and I’m getting that same fuzzy, warm feeling I always get when I read about Adrian Mole.

Which Aidy Mole book is everyone’s fave, and does anyone else have any comments on them? Thoughts? Funniest quotes? Just humour me.

I loved the Adrian Mole books! I first read them in college, in an Adolescent Fiction class. They were great fun. Pandora was a terriffic character. I haven’t read them in years, so I can’t really remember any specific quotes, but this thread makes me realize I should go out and read them again. Thanks!

I believe the books were much more of a sensation in England. I believe there was even a sitcom and/or stage show based on them. Any of our dopers over there confirm or deny this?

Yes, I loved the books (the later one, with bits of the diary of Margaret Hilda Thatcher too) was quite fun, although it seemed a bit of a patchwork sort of pot-boiler.

I think, several years ago, there was a television series, and I do believe there was a stage version too, but I didn’t see those. At present, however, BBC is showing (last night even!) “Adrian Mole: the Capuccino Years” wherein Pandora becomes a Member of Parliament.

IMHO the earlier BBC series were pretty good. The latest one sucks.

Oh, good, Ticker I don’t think too much of it either so far, and thought I was losing whatever passed for a sense of humour. Maybe it would be good if they would repeat the earlier ones.

Whoa, whoa; back up a minute here. Cappucino Years? Wilderness Years? I thought I’d completed the series when I got Lost Years (after the Secret Diary, which I only found out later was two books in one). How long have these been out?

I’m reading Wilderness Years now, and Adrian is 23 1/2, and it’s set in 1991…so I guess it’s relatively new.

Hm. Lost Years mentioned the Gulf War, which was in '91, so Cappucino must be immediately after that, which would make Wilderness the most recent.

Much to my own suprise “Wilderness Years” suddenly surfaced to the top of my amazing mess, so I can tell you that it was first published in 1993, then in paperback in 1994. I have no idea about the “Cappucino Years” although I think I recall it being first published in serial form in the Guardian newspaper.

And, Rilchiam I hadn’t even heard of “Lost Years”, so I suppose I feel as confused as you did in your post!

I have a copy of “The Adrian Mole Diaries” – an omnibus edition of the first few. They are among the funniest things I’ve ever read.

I’m beginning to suspect that “Wilderness Years” might have been renamed “Lost Years” for the U.S. edition. “Lost Years” was published 1994, apparently, and “Wildnerness Years” (with mention of the Gulf War, and the newt-counting job) was first published in 1993.

I could be wrong, but publishers do that sometimes, and it wouldn’t really make much sense for Sue Townsend to have a “Lost Years” title coming out just as “Wilderness Years” (in U.K.) came out in paperback. If this is the case, then Rilchiam and I can be happy that neither of us has missed out on one of the books.

Okay then. Whew!

Oh, I loved the Adrian Mole books! Well, the first couple at least. I think he lost his charm when he got older without having matured at all, but the first few were a very funny (and often chillingly accurate) look at adolescence.

-I have just realized that I have never seen a dead body or a live female nipple. This is what comes of living in a cul-de-sac.

-I asked Pandora how long she would love me. She said, “As long as Britain has Gibraltar.”

-It has just been on the news that Spain wants Gibraltar back.

-I asked Nigel what kind of sexuality he would opt for: homo, bi, or hetero. He said, “All three, Moley!” He never could make up his mind.

The Capuccino Years begins with Adrian at age 30, separated and with a child. Not nearly as good as the earlier books.

Also, if you like the Adrian Mole books, check out their American analogue: Youth in Revolt. A little too reminiscent of Adrian at times, but funny nonetheless.

Adrian Mole made it to Canada too. I haven’t seen the books, but I did see the BBC series they made a couple times on the CBC years ago.
Laughed my ass off!
Another benefit of having ties to the Brits I guess :slight_smile:

So send us some more Canadian T.V. then. It’s only fair! We have a serious shortage of “Kids in the Hall” here. And that comedian that got Bush to believe the Canadian P.M was named Poutine would be good too.

Loved the first three (was Wilderness Years #3?) My favorite part was the senior and his dog (sorry, can’t remember the names, it’s been awhile). Also the way he referred to his stepmother as “Stick Insect”!! I call Elkwoman this when I get annoyed. She’s never read them, and doesn’t get the reference. I’ll have to check out the most recent ones at the library.

Just because I’m compulsive, this full listing, in chronological order, of the series (all books by Sue Townsend):
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 (1982)
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (also 1982)
True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend (1990)
Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1994)
Adrian Mole: The Cappucino Years (1999)

The second book seem to be available in the USA only in an omnibus of the first two entitled The Adrian Mole Diaries. The rough UK equivalent is Adrian Mole: From Minor to Major, which also includes some material from True Confessions.

True Confessions and Wilderness Years seem to only be available in the USA in an omnibus volume (which might include material not in True Confessions, but which also seems not to include the other characters from that book) called Adrian Mole: The Lost Years

And that seems to be where we are to date (not including TV tie-ins, playscript versions, and other oddities.) lists as coming in October of this year a book called Adrian Mole: A Comic Novel (I assume that subtitle is just a tentative placeholder).
Anyway, on to personal thoughts. I’ve read the American versions of the earlier books (Diaries and Lost Years), but not yet Cappucino. I liked the two books in Diaries quite a lot when I read them – I thought Adrian seemed real and human. (I’m close to his age, but I only read the Diaries in the mid-90s, so I didn’t have much direct identification with Adrian (though I’m pretty sure I would have if I’d read them in the early '80s).

To encapsulate: the first two are wonderful looks at the world through the eyes of a particular kind of smart but unworldly kid, and the tone is perfect. Anyone who was a smart, weird teenager in the early '80s will probably love them.

Lost Years, which I just read last month, I had more mixed feelings about. The True Confessions material takes a scattershot approach, and drags Adrian from young adolescence and the early '80s into young manhood and the Gulf War. Unfortunately, it also take a lovable “might-be” into an obnoxious loser. He keeps the same personality traits, but they’re much less endearing when he’s 20 – I started to feel, part-way through, that I was meant to be laughing at Adrian rather than with him. All sorts of unpleasant things happen to him, and he doesn’t seem to learn anything – he seems to turn into a rather dim adult from what was supposedly a bright teenager.

He does grow up a bit by the end of Wilderness, but there’s some tough slogging in the middle. There were things I laughed at and felt horrible for laughing at, as if I was personally making Adrian that miserable and unhappy. It’s the sign of a pretty good writer, sure, but that’s not the reaction you want to get from a light comic novel. All in all, I’d say to stick with the first two.