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Children's LiteratureWith 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