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Townsend, Sue

mole adrian successful funny

(British, 1946– )

Townsend lives in Leicester, and writes plays and novels; since she created her comic hero Adrian Mole in 1982, she has written a number of best-sellers. Begin with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, a wonderfully funny teenage diary. Adrian Mole is anxious and self-conscious but hilariously lacking in self-knowledge; his reports on his parents' marriage, his spots, his girlfriend Pandora, and his own intellectual prowess have an innocence and honesty which makes him utterly endearing despite his terrible priggishness. This book was followed by a number of other successful Mole books, charting his progress to adulthood and middle age. The Wilderness Years (1993) finds him in his early twenties with an unpublished novel, a job (which he loses) protecting newt colonies, and a disastrous sex-life.

The Queen and I (1992) imagines a republic in which the Royal Family are forced to live in a council house on a sink estate. The Royals are treated with humour and humanity, but it is difficult to be funny about poverty and deprivation, and in places this feels faintly embarrassing. Adrian Mole makes a successful reappearance in The Cappuccino Years (1999).

Nigel Williams, Keith Waterhouse, Richard Francis. See CHILDHOOD, HUMOUR  JR

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