Adrian Mole's first love, Pandora, has left him; a neighbor, Mr. Lucas, appears to be seducing his mother (and what does that mean for his father?); the BBC refuses to publish his poetry; and his dog swallowed the tree off the Christmas cake. "Why" indeed.
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Thursday January 1st BANK HOLIDAY IN ENGLAND,
These are my New Year's resolutions:
1. I will help the blind across the road.
2. I will hang my trousers up.
3. I will put the sleeves back on my records.
4. I will not start smoking.
5. I will stop squeezing my spots.
6. I will be kind to the dog.
7. I will help the poor and ignorant.
8. After hearing the disgusting noises from downstairs last night, I have also vowed never to drink alcohol.
My father got the dog drunk on cherry brandy at the party last night. If the RSPCA hear about it he could get done. Eight days have gone by since Christmas Day but my mother still hasn't worn the green lurex apron I bought her for Christmas! She will get bathcubes next year.
Just my luck, I've got a spot on my chin for the first day of the New Year!
Friday January 2nd BANK HOLIDAY IN SCOTLAND. FULL MOON
I felt rotten today. It's my mother's fault for singing "My Way" at two o'clock in the morning at the top of the stairs. Just my luck to have a mother like her. There is a chance my parents could be alcoholics. Next year I could be in a children's home.
The dog got its own back on my father. It jumped up and knocked down his model ship, then ran into the garden with the rigging tangled in its feet. My father kept saying, "Three months' work down the drain," over and over again.
The spot on my chin is getting bigger. It's my mother's fault for not knowing about vitamins.
Saturday January 3rd
I shall go mad through lack of sleep! My father has banned the dog from the house so it barked outside my window all night. Just my luck! My father shouted a swear-word at it. If he's not careful he will get done by the police for obscene language.
I think the spot is a boil. Just my luck to have it where everybody can see it. I pointed out to my mother that I hadn't had any vitamin C today. She said, "Go and buy an orange, then." This is typical.
She still hasn't worn the lurex apron.
I will be glad to get back to school.
Sunday January 4th SECOND AFTER CHRISTMAS
My father has got the flu. I'm not surprised with the diet we get. My mother went out in the rain to get him a vitamin C drink, but as I told her, "It's too late now." It's a miracle we don't get scurvy. My mother says she can't see anything on my chin, but this is guilt because of the diet.
The dog has run off because my mother didn't close the gate. I have broken the arm on the stereo. Nobody knows yet, and with a bit of luck my father will be ill for a long time. He is the only one who uses it apart from me. No sign of the apron.
Monday January 5th
The dog hasn't come back yet. It is peaceful without it. My mother rang the police and gave a description of the dog. She made it sound worse than it actually is: straggly hair over its eyes and all that. I really think the police have got better things to do than look for dogs, such as catching murderers. I told my mother this but she still rang them. Serve her right if she was murdered because of the dog.
My father is still lazing about in bed. He is supposed to be ill, but I noticed he is still smoking!
Nigel came round today. He has got a tan from his Christmas holiday. I think Nigel will be ill soon from the shock of the cold in England. I think Nigel's parents were wrong to take him abroad.
He hasn't got a single spot yet.
Tuesday January 6th EPIPHANY. NEW MOON
The dog is in trouble!
It knocked a meter-reader off his bike and messed all the cards up. So now we will all end up in court I expect. A policeman said we must keep the dog under control and asked how long it had been lame. My mother said it wasn't lame, and examined it. There was a tiny model pirate trapped in its left front paw.
The dog was pleased when my mother took the pirate out and it jumped up the policeman's tunic with its muddy paws. My mother fetched a cloth from the kitchen but it had strawberry jam on it where I had wiped the knife, so the tunic was worse than ever. The policeman went then. I'm sure he swore. I could report him for that.
I will look up Epiphany in my new dictionary.
Wednesday January 7th
Nigel came round on his new bike this morning. It has got a water bottle, a milometer, a speedometer, a yellow saddle, and very thin racing wheels. It's wasted on Nigel. He only goes to the shops and back on it. If I had it, I would go all over the country and have an experience.
My spot or boil has reached its peak. Surely it can't get any bigger!
I found a word in my dictionary that describes my father. It is malingerer. He is still in bed guzzling vitamin C.
The dog is locked in the coal shed.
Epiphany is something to do with the three wise men. Big deal!
Thursday January 8th
Now my mother has got the flu. This means that I have to look after them both. Just my luck!
I have been up and down the stairs all day. I cooked a big dinner for them tonight: two poached eggs with beans, and tinned semolina pudding. (It's a good job I wore the green lurex apron because the poached eggs escaped out of the pan and got all over me.) I nearly said something when I saw they hadn't eaten any of it. They can't be that ill. I gave it to the dog in the coal shed. My grandmother is coming tomorrow morning, so I had to clean the burnt saucepans, then take the dog for a walk. It was half-past eleven before I got to bed. No wonder I am short for my age.
I have decided against medicine for a career.
Friday January 9th
It was cough, cough, cough last night. If it wasn't one it was the other. You'd think they'd show some consideration after the hard day I'd had.
My grandma came and was disgusted with the state of the house. I showed her my room which is always neat and tidy and she gave me fifty pence. I showed her all the empty drink bottles in the dustbin and she was disgusted.
My grandma let the dog out of the coal shed. She said my mother was cruel to lock it up. The dog was sick on the kitchen floor. My grandma locked it up again.
She squeezed the spot on my chin. It has made it worse. I told grandma about the green apron and grandma said that she bought my mother a one hundred percent acrylic cardigan every Christmas and my mother had never ever worn one of them!
Saturday January 10th
A.M. Now the dog is ill! It keeps being sick so the vet has got to come. My father told me not to tell the vet that the dog had been locked in the coal shed for two days.
I have put a plaster over the spot to stop germs getting in it from the dog.
The vet has taken the dog away. He says he thinks it has got an obstruction and will need an emergency operation.
My grandma has had a row with my mother and gone home. My grandma found the Christmas cardigans all cut up in the duster bag. It is disgusting when people are starving.
Mr. Lucas from next door has been in to see my mother and father who are still in bed. He brought a "get well" card and some flowers for my mother. My mother sat up in bed in a nightie that showed a lot of her chest. She talked to Mr. Lucas in a yukky voice. My father pretended to be asleep.
Nigel brought his records round. He is into punk, but I don't see the point if you can't hear the words. Anyway I think I'm turning into an intellectual. It must be all the worry.
P.M. I went to see how the dog is. It has had its operation. The vet showed me a plastic bag with lots of yukky things in it. There was a lump of coal, the fir tree from the Christmas cake, and the model pirates from my father's ship. One of the pirates was waving a cutlass which must have been very painful for the dog. The dog looks a lot better. It can come home in two days, worse luck.
My father was having a row with my grandma on the phone about the empty bottles in the dustbin when I got home.
Mr. Lucas was upstairs talking to my mother. When Mr. Lucas went, my father went upstairs and had an argument with my mother and made her cry. My father is in a bad mood. This means he is feeling better. I made my mother a cup of tea without her asking. This made her cry as well. You can't please some people!
The spot is still there.
Sunday January 11th FIRST AFTER EPIPHANY
Now I know I am an intellectual. I saw Malcolm Muggeridge on the television last night, and I understood nearly every word. It all adds up. A bad home, poor diet, not liking punk. I think I will join the library and see what happens.
It is a pity there aren't any more intellectuals living around here. Mr. Lucas wears corduroy trousers, but he's an insurance man. Just my luck.
The first what after Epiphany?
Monday January 12th
The dog is back. It keeps licking its stitches, so when I am eating I sit with my back to it.
My mother got up this morning to make the dog a bed to sleep in until it's better. It is made out of a cardboard box that used to contain packets of soap powder. My father said this would make the dog sneeze and burst its stitches, and the vet would charge even more to stitch it back up again. They had a row about the box, then my father went on about Mr. Lucas. Though what Mr. Lucas has to do with the dog's bed is a mystery to me.
Tuesday January 13th
My father has gone back to work. Thank God! I don't know how my mother sticks him.
Mr. Lucas came in this morning to see if my mother needed any help in the house. He is very kind. Mrs. Lucas was next door cleaning the outside windows. The ladder didn't look very safe. I have written to Malcolm Muggeridge, c/o the BBC, asking him what to do about being an intellectual. I hope he writes back soon because I'm getting fed up being one on my own. I have written a poem, and it only took me two minutes. Even the famous poets take longer than that. It is called "The Tap," but it isn't really about a tap, it's very deep, and about life and stuff like that.
The Tap, by Adrian Mole
The tap drips and keeps me awake,
I showed it to my mother, but she laughed. She isn't very bright. She still hasn't washed my PE shorts, and it is school tomorrow. She is not like the mothers on television.
Wednesday January 14th
Joined the library. Got Care of the Skin, Origin of Species, and a book by a woman my mother is always going on about. It is called Pride and Prejudice, by a woman called Jane Austen. I could tell the librarian was impressed. Perhaps she is an intellectual like me. She didn't look at my spot, so perhaps it is getting smaller. About time!
Mr. Lucas was in the kitchen drinking coffee with my mother. The room was full of smoke. They were laughing, but when I went in, they stopped.
Mrs. Lucas was next door cleaning the drains. She looked as if she was in a bad mood. I think Mr. and Mrs. Lucas have got an unhappy marriage. Poor Mr. Lucas!
None of the teachers at school have noticed that I am intellectual. They will be sorry when I am famous. There is a new girl in our class. She sits next to me in Geography. She is all right. Her name is Pandora, but she likes being called "Box." Don't ask me why. I might fall in love with her. It's time I fell in love, after all I am 13 ¾ years old.
Thursday January 15th
Pandora has got hair the color of treacle, and it's long like girls' hair should be. She has got quite a good figure. I saw her playing netball and her chest was wobbling. I felt a bit funny. I think this is it!
The dog has had its stitches out. It bit the vet, but I expect he's used to it. (The vet I mean; I know the dog is.)
My father found out about the arm on the stereo. I told a lie. I said the dog jumped up and broke it. My father said he will wait until the dog is completely cured of its operation then kick it. I hope this is a joke.
Mr. Lucas was in the kitchen again when I got home from school. My mother is better now, so why he keeps coming round is a mystery to me. Mrs. Lucas was planting trees in the dark. I read a bit of Pride and Prejudice, but it was very old-fashioned. I think Jane Austen should write something a bit more modern.
The dog has got the same color eyes as Pandora. I only noticed because my mother cut the dog's hair. It looks worse than ever. Mr. Lucas and my mother were laughing at the dog's new haircut which is not very nice, because dogs can't answer back, just like the Royal Family.
I am going to bed early to think about Pandora and do my back-stretching exercises. I haven't grown for two weeks. If this carries on I will be a midget.
I will go to the doctor's on Saturday if the spot is still there. I can't live like this with everybody staring.
Friday January 16th
Mr. Lucas came round and offered to take my mother shopping in the car. They dropped me off at school. I was glad to get out of the car what with all the laughing and cigarette smoke. We saw Mrs. Lucas on the way. She was carrying big bags of shopping. My mother waved, but Mrs. Lucas couldn't wave back.
It was Geography today so I sat next to Pandora for a whole hour. She looks better every day. I told her about her eyes being the same as the dog's. She asked what kind of dog it was. I told her it was a mongrel.
I lent Pandora my blue felt-tip pen to color round the British Isles.
I think she appreciates these small attentions.
I started Origin of Species today, but it's not as good as the television series. Care of the Skin is dead good. I have left it open on the pages about vitamins. I hope my mother takes the hint. I have left it on the kitchen table near the ashtray, so she is bound to see it.
I have made an appointment about the spot. It has turned purple.
Saturday January 17th
I was woken up early this morning. Mrs. Lucas is concreting the front of their house, and the concrete lorry had to keep its engine running while she shoveled the concrete round before it set. Mr. Lucas made her a cup of tea. He really is kind.
Nigel came round to see if I wanted to go to the pictures but I told him I couldn't, because I was going to the doctor's about the spot. He said he couldn't see a spot, but he was just being polite because the spot is massive today.
Dr. Taylor must be one of those overworked GPs you are always reading about. He didn't examine the spot, he just said I mustn't worry and was everything all right at home. I told him about my bad home life and my poor diet, but he said I was well nourished and to go home and count my blessings. So much for the National Health Service.
I will get a paperround and go private.
Sunday January 18th SECOND AFTER EPIPHANY. OXFORD HILARY TERM STARTS
Mrs. Lucas and my mother have had a row over the dog. Somehow it escaped from the house and trampled on Mrs. Lucas's wet concrete. My father offered to have the dog put down, but my mother started to cry so he said he wouldn't. All the neighbors were out in the street washing their cars and listening. Sometimes I really hate the dog!
I remembered my resolution about helping the poor and ignorant today, so I took some of my old Beano annuals to a quiet poor family who have moved into the next street. I know they are poor because they have only got a black and white telly. A boy answered the door. I explained why I had come. He looked at the annuals and said, "I've read 'em," and slammed the door in my face. So much for helping the poor!
Monday January 19th
I have joined a group at school called the Good Samaritans. We go out into the community helping and stuff like that. We miss Math on Monday afternoons.
Today we had a talk on the sort of things we will be doing. I have been put in the old age pensioners' group. Nigel has got a dead yukky job looking after kids in a playgroup. He is as sick as a parrot.
I can't wait for next Monday. I will get a cassette so I can tape all the old fogies' stories about the war and stuff. I hope I get one with a good memory.
The dog is back at the vet's. It has got concrete stuck on its paws. No wonder it was making such a row on the stairs last night. Pandora smiled at me in school dinner today, but I was choking on a piece of gristle so I couldn't smile back. Just my luck!
Excerpted from "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾"
Copyright © 1982 Sue Townsend.
Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first and funniest book in the series. Adrian Mole is a working class teenager with intellectual pretensions, who keeps writing to the BBC in the hopes of being discovered.
Adrian, a self-identified intellectual, is the narrator/diary-keeper in this book. He describes the typical teenage problems--bullies, acne, on-again/off-again romance, etc. To him, these problems are enormous; he frequently visits the doctor, asks to stay home from school, and generally makes the adults laugh (he doesn't see why) when he over-dramatizes these moments. He seems to take the bigger problems--his parents' separation, his father losing his job, the electricity being cut off--in stride. He complains about these issues, but he also deals with them in much more practical and mature ways. I read the sequel to this, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, first, and the books were almost too similar for me. When an author writes a popular book, I think it is difficult to produce a sequel that is similar enough to the first that the people who liked the first will want to read it, but not so similar that the two run together. For me, the two really ran together. But, Townsend does an excellent job of letting the reader see how others view Adrian even though the book is written entirely as his diary. The reader can see the adults laughing at his unintentionally funny actions and statements or groaning at his teenage pretentiousness.
It's difficult to think of a more memorable pompous teenager than Adrian Mole, the English self-proclaimed "intellectual" hero of Sue Townshend's riotous Adrian Mole series.Although Adrian's story is mostly humorous and details his attempts at publishing his atrocious poetry and wooing the girl of his dreams ("Oh, Pandora, I adore ya!"), Townshend includes Adrian's opinions on his parents' indiscretions and arguments.Considering how many families can be described as "broken" families in today's world, the less-than-ideal situation that Adrian's household is in may comfort some students and remind them that they are not alone in their frustrations.Note: the nature of the humor is somewhat sexually explicit from time to time, although perhaps that is its strength - a 13-year-old boy's perspective on the importance of sexual prowess is raw, funny, and insightful.
I only just finished the book and I must say that I'm not really that convinced by it. It was funny but quite tiring to read. Adrians constant ramblings don't really have any structure or a real story unfolding, so it is slightly more difficult to read. Adrian himself seems to be a typical teenager in many things, higly self-absorbed and contantly bussy with his image. Although I can't help but wondering that when it comes to his home-situation he 'underreacts' a little.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 reminded me of the excellent Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole in the best way possible -buffoon forces us to relate by way of academic and societal realization of place. Mole is a fairly bog-standard Midlands kid growing up in Thatcher's England. His life is upset by the adults around him, and the seeming disorder of this fellow adolescents. Mole considers himself an intellectual, an untapped mind that nobody but himself understands. The format of the diary is perfect for this story in that it really gives the reader an insight into the secret thoughts that we've all had, but most of us fear sharing or admitting to. The idea that we alone (in the sense of Mole and the little relationship formed by our role as the reader) 'get it' really stand out as the critical factor in this book. We don't really pity Adrian throughout, nor do we really see him as pathetic despite some of the rather silly situations that are handled appallingly. The reader is struck with the fact that this teenage boy is able, despite his own delusions to lay himself out with more honesty than many of us would be able to muster; even to ourselves.
Lately a lot of book blogs I nose around have been concerned with reading the classics. I see the sci-fi masterlist being posted everywhere, and more than a few of the non sci-fi blogs I read are tackling some less speculative classics (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies doesn't count). It made me feel like maybe I should stop being such a philistine and start exploring the great literature of days gone by. Should I start with Tolstoy (wasn't he a Bolshevik?), or maybe Dickens? (Would Dan Simmons' Drood count?) Then I started to feel a little lightheaded, so I decided to ease myself in with the Secret Dairy of Adrian Mole, which my coworker Kim told me she had to read in school, and everyone knows its only a classic if you had to read it in school. Plus I bought the book and it's sequels ages ago, so it was already conveniently on my bookshelf. This book falls squarely into the genre that possibly already exists or that possibly I just made up called `Thatcher-eqsue.¿ Thatcher-esque literature, so named for the period under Margeret Thatcher in which is was written, is characterised by the appearance of depressing working class surroundings and a feeling of overwhelming Britishness. And trust me, the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole has both of these things in spades. It's all angst and pence, which now I think about it sounds like a law firm...I would have to say that The Secret Diary, etc is probably the best example of a book in the form of a diary that I've ever read. Hell, scratch the probably. The things reads like an actual diary. Oftentimes with this style of book the diary entries don't read true, the diary writer (diary-est? diary-er?) might recount solid passages of dialogue, for example, or they might foreshadow upcoming events (which is ok is the book is 'diary of a chick who can see the future,' but otherwise not so much). Townsend displays none of these faults. The only thing that some people might point to as being un-diary like is Adrian's habit of referring to people by their full names instead of using abbreviations. However I am fully onboard with it as 1) it's a writing technique that bugs me and, 2) as a self proclaimed intellectual I believe that young Adrian would write out full names every time.Now I'm not saying that the book is without flaws, in fact the major complaints I have with it are because it is so true to its diary form. Namely there seems to be no overreaching plot. It's just a self centered kid writing a little bit almost every day about his life. There is not much in the way of traditional narrative road marks, such as a clearly defined beginning, middle and conclusion. Stuff happens, some more stuff happens, and then there are no more pages. There is no real ending, no satisfying conclusion, just no more words. As I said, it reads exactly like a real diary, and when we read the last entry it's prety easy to imagne that Adrian had kept on going in a new journal, (especially considering the three other Adrian Mole books on my shelf). There is character development though. The Adrian in the first entry is not the same Adrian in the last and after all (are you sick of hearing me say this yet?) a book's characters are the most important thing.I found myself not minding the lack of traditional plot too much, or at all really, because Adrian has such a fantastic voice. He's a self centered little burk, filled with angst of ridiculous proportions. What really endears him to you though is the way he gets so hung up on silly stuff like pimples and vitamins, while the pretty epic family drama doesn't seem to phase him at all. (Of course would could argue that his 13 and a quarter year old mind can't deal with him mother's abandonment or his father's nervous breakdown so he obsesses over the size of his 'thing' instead...) It also helps that Adrian is really funny, although in an unintentionally oblivious kind of way. Indeed most of the books humour derives from us seeing what Adrian doesn't, a conceit whic
Adrian Mole, precocious British teenager, self-professed intellectual, and diarist tells us of his trials and tribulations during the last part of his 13th and all of his 14th year. His musings are funny, sweet, and ultimately poignant. In this first edition of the series, we follow him through his decision to become an intellectual, his parents separation and reunification, and his tumultuous first love affair with one Pandora Braithwaite (herself precocious, radical and somewhat fickle.) Upon my second reading of this book, I was pleased that I was not any less enchanted by Adrian as when I first became acquainted with him during my freshman year of college. Adrian is such a real and believable character that it's hard to believe he sprung from the mind of a middle-aged woman, who herself has never, presumably, been a 13 and 3/4 year old boy. Of course, neither have I. I am also not British, and not well-acquainted with early 1980's Britain and know nothing of British politics. I often find it difficult to read literature from countries I have not visited or studied extensively, but the colloquialisms herein are not as mystifying or unable to be understood from context in this work as others I have read. I would recommend this book to any American Anglophile or any young adult who would in any way identify with the engaging character of Adrian Mole.
As a little detour from all the more literary works I'm assigned to read this book is ideal. Here no unnecessary lengthy passages or labyrinthine language, just wit and understated humor. It's got some painful, almost tragic moments but mostly it's about having an innocent chuckle. I think the book aims at nothing more than that and achieves every goal wonderfully.
read this book a long time ago, but i do remember laughing through most of it!
While it made me laugh out loud on occasion, this book was just not for me. I know Adrian is supposed to be clueless but he’s also obnoxious and most of the time I wanted to reach through the pages to choke him. His situation is not a good one, but I get the feeling he would be just as annoying even in the perfect home. I suppose the humor is just not my style. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Excellent puberty tale of a teenager that goes through every growing pain possible... RIP Sue Townsend your legacy will last forever
I first read this book in the 80's as a teenager born and raised in England, I completely identified with Adrian's trials and tribulations. This book is very witty and entertaining, I decided to re-read it as an adult and it is as funny as I remember it, wish it was on the Nook though. I highly recommend this book if you understand British humor, if not then its not for you.
Adrian Mole is surviving, his parents divorce, his first love (Pandora), a Woodbine smoking old pensioner (Bert) and all the other trials and tribulations of any 13 3/4 boy. The book was mainly enjoyable but I absoloutely hated the character's arrogance at times. Reccommended for 12-15 year olds.
This book was on my reading list for 9th grade honors english. When i first started reading it, I dubbed it immature and boring...but as you read on, you can't stop. The author writes the book as if it were a fictional diary. It is knee-slappingly funny (some sexual humor), and overall, a great book. Adrian Mole undergoes changes in his family and in his body and I think anyone would enjoy this book, even if you aren't too fond of reading.
This book was so good I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed every entry. I wish it hadn't ended though. I finished and was craving more.