The series is thirty years old and has sold eight million copies, but I have never read any of Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole books. Now's a good opportunity, though, because to celebrate that milestone anniversary, Penguin are re-issuing the books on 19th. January (the first volume has a foreword by David Walliams), and they have most kindly sent me a full set.
Beginning as a half-hour piece on Radio Four entitled The Diary of Nigel Mole, the publication in 1982 of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 followed two years later by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole made Sue Townsend the bestselling author of the 1980s, and Adrian came to life not just on the page but through various adaptations for radio, television and theatre. I hadn't realised that there were as many as eight books in the series now with the latest being Adrian Mole and The Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004) which sees AM working as a bookseller and finding time to write letters of advice to Tim Henman and Tony Blair, and Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (2009) in which our hero is facing troubles at work and on the home front.
The reviews have been rapturous: "One of the great comic creations of our time" (The Scotsman), "Effortlessly hilarious. Brilliant satire ... " (The Times), "Richly comic ... stuffed full of humour, tragedy, vanity, pathos and, very occasionally, wisdom" (The Guardian), "What words can one use to describe Sue Townsend's prism-like view of 20th. century Little England? Funny, witty, human, anarchic, perceptive, cringe-making" (Zoe Wanamaker).
The books' following is clearly large and loyal, but are you part of it? Have you read Adrian Mole?