Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years by Sue Townsend

I mentioned in a post recently that I wanted to re-read the Adrian Mole books (again) by Sue Townsend at some point as they must surely be amongst the funniest books ever written.  I then realised that I hadn’t actually read the latest book in the series ‘Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years’.  Set in 2007-2008 as the credit crunch looms over Britain, Adrian is approaching his 40th birthday and has settled down with his second wife, Daisy, and their daughter, Gracie.  However, all is not well in Adrian’s life as both his health and his marriage are in a very fragile state.

Although the first two books in the series are the most well-known (‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4’ and ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole’), Townsend’s comic creation is as funny as it ever was.  As I haven’t read the latest instalments of the Mole diaries for quite some time, I thought I would find it more difficult to follow but I needn’t have worried. Given that Adrian was somewhat prematurely middle-aged as a teenager, he hasn’t really changed very much as a character.  He is still obsessive, naive, contradictory and oblivious to what is really going on around him, often revealing more to the reader in what he says than he actually means to.   Although Adrian is best known for his teenage diaries set in the 1980s, ‘The Prostrate Years’ is very much a twenty-first century edition of the Mole family saga which includes their appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show to finally confirm who Rosie’s biological father really is.  Instead of writing letters to the BBC, Adrian is now trying to directly contact Gordon Brown about his tax affairs.  Predictably, his poetry and plays are still awful.  Some things never change.

Adrian is also famous for being a hypochondriac but this time, he has good reason to be worried when he is diagnosed with prostate cancer (the title of the book is a reference to the common mispronunciation of the word). Townsend, who has battled a number of health problems herself in recent years, deals with the subject of Adrian’s illness brilliantly being neither overly sentimental nor too depressing about it as there is still plenty of room for some very British humour in the book.   The characters are comfortingly familiar for those who have read the earlier books – Adrian’s mother, Pauline, has always been my favourite and she is as mad as ever in ‘The Prostrate Years’.

The next instalment of Adrian’s diaries will cover his life in ‘austerity Britain’ and is due to be published next year.  Given that Adrian has invested his money in Icelandic banks, Townsend has already set him up for further troubles ahead.  Will Adrian ever have a happy ending?


Filed under Books

9 responses to “Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years by Sue Townsend

  1. I love Sue Townsend. Did you ever read the Queen and I?


  2. Was Pandora his first wife? I feel like I’ve missed so much! Thanks for letting me know there was more to the saga.


  3. I read this book last year – laugh-out-loud funny – Adrian hasn’t lost it!


  4. ifnotread

    I haven’t read any of the Adrian Mole books! I know very little about them except for that it’s laugh-out-loud funny and I think I’ve heard somewhere along the line about hypochondria 🙂 It’s going on my to-read list. Thanks.


  5. I didn’t read the review because I haven’t read it either. I’ve got the first set of Adrian Mole books my aunt brought back from England in the early 90s for me and I’m definitely planning on reading all of them up to date!

    I can’t wait for it and I will definitely come back and read your thoughts.


  6. girlinknits

    I love the Adrian Mole series.. I didn’t hear of them until my Uncle gave them to me to read so I didn’t read them until I was a teenager, I’m pleased that I I didn’t find them until then because they wouldn’t have meant the same. They’re so funny and I love to reread them all. Sue Townsend is a wonderful storyteller and I hope they keep on coming.


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