Uh oh! We’re getting into the territory where the vulnerable foibles of youth are turning into the entrenched and ossified frailties of adulthood. Adrian Mole is 23 now and a LOT has happened. I won’t tell you all of it, but among the best of the bunch is that his old friend Barry has written a novel called the “Dork’s Diary” which has found a lot of success, Pandora is working on a PhD (D Phill actually she tells us), Adrian’s parents are held in thrall of their own respective relationships, and Adrian is working on his magnum opus, a long novel about wandering adventures of an earnest young lad from his hometown, called “‘Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland'”
The satire which was couched before in sympathy at times, has become more biting, but that’s to be deserved. It’s 1990 and the UK is joining with the US in the liberation of Kuwait, a war which Adrian fears might bring bombers back to the skies of London because of the impressive Iraqi airforce. He has also been made aware that he bears a resemblance to UK prime minister John Major, as people tell him on the streets. He’s complete unironic, his malaprops are still hilarious but no longer cute. People who barely could stand to protect him as a child are no longer inclined.
This novel most feels like a wholly ironic version of Patrick Melrose’s already wholly ironic novels, and more like an Iris Murdoch novel burst open at its seams and recast in partial views.