The Adrian Mole Diaries

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In the tradition of the great “education” novels such as GREAT EXPECTATIONS, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, and THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, THE ADRIAN MOLE DIARIES introduces the reader to an awkward but appealing youth whose unintentional humor is an unfailing source of literary delight. Adrian Mole is a self-proclaimed poet and intellectual who sends his poems to the BBC and reads voraciously. Yet he receives mediocre grades at school, and the BBC rejects all of his verse. At home, he endures the caprices of his irresponsible parents (a radical feminist mother and an unemployed father), who fight, separate, have affairs, and finally accept each other -- but only after Adrian has gained a brother and a sister, the unexpected fruits of extramarital dalliance.

Adrian’s own love life is a series of peaks and valleys as he is alternately loved and snubbed by Pandora (“Box”) Braithwaite, his brilliant and sexy girlfriend. He is further tormented by the family dog and by Barry Kent, the school bully, who regularly demands “protection money” from the hapless Adrian. His only friend is Bert Baxter, a ninety-year-old curmudgeon who relies on Adrian for all the necessities of his minimal existence, including Woodbine cigarettes. All the events in Adrian’s diary are placed in the larger context of the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and the War in the Falklands.

Sue Townsend manages the diary form skillfully, using it as...

(The entire section is 411 words.)