Bath Voice Book Review: Sue Townsend’s diary-style comic novel of the unreliable narrator Adrian Mole is a classic (and a musical version is set for Bath this week)

Book Review. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Age 13 3/4
Sue Townsend’s comic 1982 fictional diary style novel of school boy Adrian Mole and resident of Ashby-de -la-Zouch in Leicestershire remains a joy as another example of the unreliable narrator and of the humour of comic misunderstandings in a very British way.
Self-styled intellectual Adrian Mole consistently mis-interprets the motives and conversations of the people in his life leading to misunderstandings of an adolescent in the early 1980s.
He wants to help the grumpy 80-year-old Bert Baxter through the school’s Good Samaritan programme and falls in love with the ‘treacle-haired’ Pandora.
Adrian means well but his naive views and his cringe-worthy poetry, plus his concerns with acne distorts his views of the world as only a confused teenage brain can do. It’s a brilliantly influential humorous novel of the 20th century.
Townsend’s lightness of touch and an ability to highlight some of the topics of the age from the Falklands War to Princes Diane and Prince Charles’ wedding and the economic problems of 1980s Britain make the novel a neat reflection of Thatcherite Britain on the cusp of social change.
Adrian’s home life is excruciating in its candour with his parent’s marital problems – as seen though the prism of a teenager’s eyes.
Witty, funny and a kind of spoof teen diary style novel the book sold more than two million copies and has spawned several sequels, a TV series, a radio adaptation and a musical.
Harry Mottram

Next Stage Theatre Company bring the musical version to the Mission Theatre in Bath with a run of Tuesday 21st to Saturday 25th March nightly at 7.30pm. The cast of Bathonians include Fin Hancorn as Adrian with Ren Leming and Claire Rumball as Mr and Mrs Lucas with Mike Stevens and Vanessa Bishop as Mr and Mrs Mole.

Tickets and more info:

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