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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 - Sue Townsend

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Sue Townsend / Edition: 1 Reissue / Paperback / Reading Level: Young Adult / 272 Pages / Book is published 2008-05-10 by Harperteen

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    7 Reviews
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      08.08.2012 21:18
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      An easy, amusing read

      I first read this book when I was much younger. In the mood for some light reading, I bought it for my Kindle and settled in to read.

      A few hours later I'd finished the whole book, and had been reminded how laugh-out-loud Adrian could be.

      The book is written in a diary format, and documents a year in the life of Adrian Mole, a typical self-centred teenager. With worries including such things as spots, the size of his 'thing', family issues and a constant desire for his love, Pandora, you can't help rooting for Adrian.

      Sure, he's annoying at times, but that's part of his charm. Adrian really has no idea how he comes across to those around him, and yet, despite his complaints, often ends up doing the right thing -- especially in terms of Bert, the old man who he loves to hate, and yet still goes to walk his dog and clean Bert's house.

      If you want a quick, easy read this would be a good choice. While I read in one go it would be easy to dip into due to the diary format, and it's impossible to go more than a few pages without having a laugh, usually at Adrian's expense.

      It's also good to revisit the social issues of the time. Sue Townsend doing a great job integrating them within Adrian's diary entries.

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        11.07.2012 23:13

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        A must read!

        What a fantastic read! I first read this when I was at school (15 years ago) and I would recommend it to any young person who wants to get into reading.
        It is easy to read and easy to understand for children from the age of 9 or 10 years old. The fact that this is the start of Adrian Mole's journey through his teenage years, his troubles with Pandora - a girl at the same school who is just out of his reach, family woe's, teenage issues are addressed greatly in this book but beautifully weighed up with comedy.
        A guaranteed laugh out load in every chapter!
        Well worth getting the entire series and following Adrian and the Mole family through their complicated, unashamable family trials and tribulations!
        Following books in this series are a must have and should not be left out of any child's book shelf.
        A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE OF ALL AGES!

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        28.10.2009 00:06
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        When you read this, you'd become addicted and want to read the rest!

        I first came across this book when I was about 14 years old, and I have to say that I finished the whole thing in about two evenings (which was highly unusual for me), and now, 14 years later, I still howl with laughter each time I re read it!

        Adrian Mole's journals illustate the life of a complicated 13 year old boy and his woes, being an unrecognised 'academic', his first love, Pandora who is of a higher social class, his relationship with his wayward parents, one of whom runs off to Sheffield with the man across the road after his wife leaves him for another woman and the other who falls for Doreen 'Stick Insect' Slater and his jealousy for best friend Nigel who has everything he wants.

        This is one page turner that needs to go down in history - the relationships within the book are amazing, he befriends the 89 year old Bert Baxter who turns out to be someone he cant live with, or cant live without... this is the kind of book you should be reading to cheer yourself up, no ones life can be as complicated as Adrians, ages 13 3/4!

        I would recommend that every teenager in the world gets a copy of this text, just keep it out of sight from the parents!

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          16.01.2009 15:34
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          Definitely one worth reading. It really did make me laugh aloud throughout

          Without a doubt, this is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time, containing a unique brand of hilarity that would appeal to both adults and children.

          It is clear, that although this book is designed to entertain, Townsend uses it as a vehicle for social commentary, to highlight flaws in society. Themes include feminism, the breakdowns of typical roles e.g. gender roles, politics, parenthood, childhood, and adult morality. If you think this means a preaching, didactic lecture, guess again, as it is all cleverly expressed through humour.

          Through the diary format - enabling Adrian to indulge in cathartic purging - and through a good deal of irony via self-betrayal, we experience teenage anxiety with Adrian. We take pleasure in Adrian's ineptitude as a poet; "Pandora! I adore ya!" his idiosyncratic expressions; "Just my luck!" and most of all his neurotic immaturity and insecurities; "I think I am turning into an intellectual, it must be all the worry."

          In the book, we see Adrian join the Good Samaritans group where he forms a bond with Bert Baxter, an old-age pensioner. Adrian is obviously aiming to be the ideal Samaritan, and so eagerly joins the club - and of course because he gets to "miss maths on Monday afternoons." Adrian's relationship with Bert Baxter is often touching and serves its purpose of conveying a social comment on the relationship between youth and age, but it also imparts a great deal of humour. Be this from Adrian's childish observations "you smell, I don't " or his many laborious tasks to aid Bert "He told me when I was helping him into the toilet."

          Although Townsend has utilised comedy to portray these two characters, creating various scenes of mirth, she is also expressing her indignation at the poor treatment of the elderly. This is just one example of how the book attacks society and works on many plateaus, if you care to look for them. If not, sit back, relax and enjoy the comedy.

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            24.07.2008 17:33
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            Introduction to Towsend's everyman hero

            "Why couldn't I have been born Prince Edward and Prince Edward born Adrian Mole? I am treated like a serf."

            'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾' was the first book in Sue Townsend's Mole series and originally published in 1982. It's a shortish book written in the format of Adrian's diary and personal thoughts and observations and makes for very funny and complusive reading. It's one of the first books I ever read all the way through purely for pleasure and ranks alongside The War Of The Worlds as one of my childhood favourites for this reason.

            The strength of this book, and the reason it works so well, lies in Adrian's wry, amusing, naive, and sometimes pretentious commentary on his life and everything happening around him.

            Our hero, Adrian Mole, is a precoious young teenage boy living in an ordinary hum-drum working-class suburb of Leicester with his parents. Adrian, despite his humble origins, considers himself to be a great intellectual destined for great things. Much of the comedy derives from the fact that Adrian is probably not a great intellectual, plus, of course, the weekly trials and humiliations of growing up, falling in love, going to school and working-class life in general.

            "I felt rotten today," says Adrian at the start of the book. "It's my mother's fault for singing 'My Way' at two in the morning at the top of the stairs." The book quickly establishes that Adrian's parents are probably the children while the dry Adrian is prematurely mature and serious for his age. This aspect to his relationship with his family adds a lot of comedy and makes Adrian's parents funny and vivid characters throughout this and future books in the series.

            Adrian's life soon becomes complicated when a new 'treacle haired' girl called Pandora Braithwaite arrives at his school. Adrian is smitten and his pursuit of Pandora soon becomes his greatest obsession and preoccupation. Adrian's love for Pandora is very touching and leads to some terrible poetry and funny incidents. Townsend captures the first intense crushes and friendships of young teenagers in a very realistic and vivid manner and will evoke feelings of warmth and nostalgia in any adult reader who picks up the book.

            Adrian's life becomes more complicated when the dreaded Mr Lucas becomes close to his mother, threatening his parents marriage. And he is also required by his school to become a home help for a grumpy Communist pensioner called Bert Baxter who seems to eat nothing but beetroot and has a fierce Alsation dog as a best friend.

            Although the diary is an accesible and funny book for all ages, Townsend also uses 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾' to write about themes like divorce, seperation, unemployment, sexuality, lack of money, feminism and the treatment of the elderly in our society. "My parents are eating different things at different times," says Adrian. "I usually have six meals a day because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings."

            The confusion and bitterness that can arise in children from the seperation of parents and new relationships is written about by Townsend but done in a comic way that is very clever. There are many passages and incidents that readers will relate to from their own lives or childhood.

            Adrian loathes his responsibilities to Baxter but softens when the pensioner falls ill. Adrian realises how important such tasks really are. Bert Baxter is one of many supporting characters who are drawn in with much love by the author and really seem like real people. Other examples of this include Adrian's awful relatives The Sugdens (his mother's in-laws) and his Grandmother, a houseproud widow who always remains his greatest supporter and is always there in a time of crisis. Adrian's Grandmother is given some funny lines througout the diaries.

            The relationship between (the posher) Pandora and Adrian is also a device for some ruminations on class. "So now I know where Pandora lives!" writes Adrian. "I had a good look at her house. It is much bigger than ours."

            Adrian's father is made unemployed at one point in the book and they suffer the indignity of having their electricity cut off. There are some funny scenes of the Mole family reading by candlelight and cooking beans on a camping stove. "Good training for when civilization collapses," says Adrian's father trying to look on the bright side.

            Real events also feature in the book as a background to Adrian's life and times. This window back into an eighties world of boil in the bag dinners is good fun for the modern reader. "ROYAL WEDDING DAY!" writes Adrian on July the 29th, 1982. "We truly lead the world when it comes to pageantry!" The street party for this event featuring numerous characters is one of the most memorable passages in the book.

            Another occurs when Adrian's class (4-D) visits the British Museum in London for a school trip. Adrian details what happened as a chronological list with singing, vomiting, v-signs to drivers, mayhem at the museum, teachers having a nervous breakdown and missing children. Anyone who has ever gone on a coach trip with their school will be able to relate to these moments!

            The book runs to just over 170 pages and once you get into it you'll bluster through fairly quickly. It's very compulsive and amusing with Townsend's sense of humour a strong feature:

            "Had a long talk with Mr Dock. I explained that I was a one-parent-family child with an unemployed father. Mr Dock said he didn't care if I was the offspring of a lesbian one-legged mother and a leprous humpbacked-dwarf father so long as my essays were lucid, intelligent and unpretentious."

            I won't spoil it, but the last page of this book features my favourite joke when Adrian's dad is informed that Argentina has just invaded the Falklands.

            Overall, this is a classic of modern British fiction and a must read for people of all ages, especially young teenagers. Once you've sampled Adrian's warm, comical world you'll be eager to read the next entry in the series.

            Recommended.

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              07.06.2001 02:07
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              Adrian Mole is 13 (and three quarters). He lives with his mum, Pauline and dad, George in a house that exists somewhere between chaos and grim reality, in suburbia. He has a secret love, Pandora Braithwaite, whom he envisages as his future wife. He's a good samaritan to Bert Baxter, (a miserable old git) and his mad Alsatian dog called Sabre, by visiting him regularly and looking after his welfare. Mostly thanklessly. He is bullied at School by Barry Kent, but balances his discomfort with his best friend, Nigel. This is an oversimplistic introduction to the phenomena that is Adrian Mole. Sue Townsend's creation is vulnerable, full of anguish, emotionally charged, deep thinking but with shallow thoughts, and a thoroughly hilarious character. Most days the entries are full of his fears or small triumphs. Occasionally he jots down the size of his penis, carefully monitoring the potential growth factors with his wooden ruler. As it is all done in complete innocence and naivety, these moments are truly priceless and marvellously written, never belying the fact that the book was written by a 30-something female. There is also a certain poignancy within the book. As a reader, you can see that the problems his family experience have a deeper impact on him as a member of it than would perhaps have been believed. This links up marvellously with the feelings that we ourselves would have had as young teenagers, and no one seemed to credit you with any sense and behaved as though we weren't really there. The book itself takes you up until Adrian is 15, and leaves you with a wonderful scene of him having accidentally glued his nose to the model aircraft he was making. This sums up the character of the book. Well-meaning but bumbling, prone to Sods Law, with a serious but unintentionally funny outlook on life. As I've said before, Sue Townsend pulled of a masterstroke of genius with this character. Ever
              yone empathises with him, suffers his indignities with him and can connect with his innocent charm. There are many comparisons with our own lives that can be drawn throughout his diary entries, which helps you strongly bond and identify with him and his predicaments. Even for those of us without a penis. From a woman's point of view, Adrian was the geek of the school, but whom you never really minded because his heart was in the right place, although you'd never dream of showing it in front of your mates. I've purposely not included the plot in any great detail because it's the SECRET World of Adrian Mole, and you should find out for yourselves from his diaries. I'd hate the lessen the marvellous impact for you. But for a style of writing, I will give you this.... "I have just realised that I have never seen a dead body or a real female nipple. That's what comes of living in a cul-de-sac." Follow up titles are: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole - Adrian Mole The Wilderness Years - The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole... - Adrian Mole from Minor to Major and Adrian Mole The Cappucino Years. PS. Well done, Sue! (She was a local girl, single mum and looking to make good money so we feel kinda proud of her).

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                06.06.2001 03:06
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                This diary barely gives you time to catch your breath from one joke before knocking you down with another. Each entry is filled with the worry and angst of every teenage boy. Is this spot getting bigger? Why isn't this getting bigger?!! Adrian Mole is an average teenage boy living with a screwball family in a crazy neighbourhood. His arguing mother and father may well be alcoholics, his dog may be clinically insane and his friend Nigel is most likely gay, but all this seems to pass Adrian by as he fawns over the love of his life Pandora. Along the way he meets a remarkable range of characters: Bert Baxter, a crusty old man whom Adrian must take care of. Sabre, Bert's gigantic alsation. Hamish Mancini, an amazingly cocky and loud American who Adrian meets on holiday not to mention an entire neighbourhood of funny yet slightly strange people. Adrian also believes himself to be an intellectual and frequently writes hilariously terrible poems which he enters into the diary at an alarming rate. He also sends these off to the poor people at the BBC. This diary's main strong point is the forming of a very clear view of each character. They seem so alive and people very like them can be found by looking in any street in the country. Yet whether they'll be quite as funny as these ones is a different story. I strongly reccomend buying this book but if you do, buy two copies. The first will be soaked in tears of laughter about half-way through.

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              • Product Details

                One of a series of top-quality fiction for schools, this is Sue Townsend's wry and witty diary of the adolescent Adrian Mole.