An absolutely hilarious and wonderful book in the format of a series of diary entries in the year of the life of a 13 year old boy in Thatcherite England. Adrian Mole is deeply vulnerable and a real twerp in equal measures. The novel begins early in the year as he’s awaiting his 14th birthday. Recent television viewing has convinced him that’s an intellectual, he’s deeply in love with a classmate named Pandora, and he’s witnessing the strange phenomenon of his mother helping to nurse the man next door back to mental health after his very public rows and divorce.
The immediate question that occurs in this novel is, who is our audience? That question is answered before long by the sheer amount of dramatic irony that laces so many of Adrian Mole’s observations about life and failures to understand. Whether he’s reading a book so far above his head that he “can’t make out one word in ten” or failing to understand that his mom is having an affair with the neighbor, we quickly realize he’s trying desperately to make sense of the world and failing. He’s embarrassing and cringing throughout, but he’s also accidentally hilarious as well.
One moment has him swiping something from his job in a fit of teenage exuberance, and then starting the next chapter racked with guilt stating “Dear Diary, I am reading Crime and Punishment.”
The book is fast paced with a lot going on, even with very little happening, and it really works as witness to the history of the times, even though it was written coterminus with them. This should be more interesting if I am to work through the remaining seven books in the series.