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The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

by Sue Townsend

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At fourteen, Adrian Mole's life continues to be nothing but a set of tragic circumstances: His tempestuous relationship with an alluring schoolmate tortures him, while his intellectualism continues to be ignored by the British press. Despite it all he remains as agonizingly funny as ever in this, the second of his diaries.


At fourteen, Adrian Mole's life continues to be nothing but a set of tragic circumstances: His tempestuous relationship with an alluring schoolmate tortures him, while his intellectualism continues to be ignored by the British press. Despite it all he remains as agonizingly funny as ever in this, the second of his diaries.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
With hormones flying, fourteen-year-old Adrian Mole faces a mad, bad, insecure world. It is 1982 and England has invaded the Falkland Islands, against Adrian's better judgment. His philandering parents refuse to be consistent, attentive or moral, and even the vicar threatens to give up religion for something concrete-microbiology. Adrian is convinced that he is the sole guardian of morality even as he lobbies for greater intimacy with his muse Pandora, the feisty socialist. And he expects great success as a poet as soon as his roaring intellect is recognized by the critics. Absorbed in his frustrated desires, Adrian is the last to notice his mother's pregnancy. To be precocious intellectually, daring politically, but cowardly physically makes for a comical and agonizing adolescence. The novel's diary form allows Adrian to tickle the reader with naive, hilarious entries. "I might be a historian," Adrian writes, "if my memory improves." But this structure does become tiresome, and the many references to English politics and culture may baffle U.S. readers. When Adrian runs away from home the pace of the novel accelerates again. This sequel to The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 will amuse teens as well as adult Townsend fans. 2003 (orig. 1982), Harper Tempest/HarperCollins, Ages 12 up.
— Ann Philips

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Adrian Mole Series
Edition description:
First Harper Tempest Edition
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

By Sue Townsend

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Sue Townsend All right reserved. ISBN: 0060533986

Chapter One

Sunday April 4th

My father has sent a telegram to the War Office. He wants to take part in the war with Argentina. His telegram read:

qualified heating engineer stop A1 fitness stop offers himself in the service of his country stop ready for immediate mobilization

My mother says that my father will do anything to avoid working for Manpower Services as a canal bank renovator. At tea-time I was looking at our world map, but I couldn't see the Falkland Islands anywhere. My mother found them; they were hidden under a crumb of fruitcake.

I feel guilty about mentioning a personal anguish at this time of national crisis, but ever since last night when a model airplane became stuck fast to my nose with glue, I have suffered torment. My nose has swollen up so much that I am frantic with worry that it might burst and take my brain with it.

I rang the Casualty Department and, after a lot of laughing, the nurse who removed the plane came on the line. She said that I was "probably allergic to the glue," and that the swelling would go down in a few days. She added, "Perhaps it will teach you not to sniff glue again." I tried to explain but she put the phone down.

Pandora has been round but I declined to see her. She would go straightoff me if she saw my repulsive nose.

Monday April 5th

Just my luck! It is the first day of the school holidays and I can't go out because of my gigantic swollen nose. Even my mother is a bit worried about it now. She wanted to prick it with a sterilized needle, but I wouldn't let her. She can't sew an accurate patch on a pair of jeans with a needle, let alone do delicate medical procedures with one. I've begged her to take me to a private nose specialist, but she has refused. She says she needs the money for her "Well Woman" test. She is having her primary and secondary sexual organs checked. Yuk!

The dog is in love with a cocker spaniel called Mitzi. The dog stands no chance, though: (a) it isn't a pedigree, and (b) it doesn't keep itself looking smart like most dogs. I tried to explain these things to the dog, but it just looked sad and mournful and went back to lying outside Mitzi's gate. Being in love is no joke. I have the same problem with Pandora that the dog has with Mitzi. We are both in a lower social class than our loved ones.

Tuesday April 6th

The nation has been told that Britain and Argentina are not at war, we are at conflict.

I am reading Scoop by a woman called Evelyn Waugh.

Wednesday April 7th

Wrote and sent Pandora a love letter and a poem. The letter said:

Pandora my love,

Due to an unfortunate physical disability I am unable to see you in person, but every fibre of my being cries out for your immediate physical proximity. Be patient, my love, soon we will laugh again.

Yours with undying love, Adrian

P.S. What are your views on the Argentinian conflict, with particular reference to Lord Carrington's registration?

The Discontented Tuna

I am a Tuna fish, Swimming in the sea of discontent. Oh, when, when, Will I find the spawning ground?

I hope Pandora sees through my poem and realizes the symbolism of "spawning ground." I am sick of being the only virgin in our class. Everybody but me is sexually experienced. Barry Kent boasts about how many housewives he makes love to on his father's milkround. He says they are the reason why he is always late for school.

Thursday April 8th Maunday Thursday. Full moon

Nose has gone down a bit.

My mother came home from her "Well Woman" check in a bad mood.

I allowed Pandora to visit me in my darkened bedroom. We had a brilliant kissing session. Pandora was wearing her mother's Janet Reger full-length silk slip under her dress and she allowed me to touch the lace on the hem. I was more interested in the lace near the shoulder straps but Pandora said, "No darling, we must wait until we've got our 'O' levels."

I pointed out to Pandora that all this sexual frustration is playing havoc with my skin. But she said, "If you really love me you will wait."

I said, "If you really love me you wouldn't wait."

She went then: she had to replace the Janet Reger slip before her mother got back from work.

I have got thirty-eight spots: twenty-eight on my face and the rest on my shoulders.

Friday April 9th Good Friday

Barry Kent has been spreading malicious rumours that I am addicted to Bostik. His Auntie is a cleaner in the hospital and heard about the nose-stuck-to-model-airplane incident. I think it is disgusting that cleaners are allowed to talk about patient's private medical secrets. They should be made to take the Hippocratic oath, like doctors and nurses.

My mother is fed up. She is just sitting around the house smoking and sighing. There was a program on BBC 2 about French babies being born into swimming pools; it was most interesting (and erotic) but my mother quickly switched over to ITV and watched bernie winters!!! When I protested she screamed, "Why don't you clear off and sulk in your room like other teenagers?"

My father is as baffled as I am as to why my mother is depressed. She's been like it since she came back from the "Well Woman" clinic.

Perhaps she's not well.

The Canberra has gone to the Falklands and taken Barry Kent's older brother, Clive, with it.


Excerpted from The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend
Copyright © 2003 by Sue Townsend
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Sue Townsend is the author of The Queen and I and The Adrian Mole books. She lives in England.

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