I used to think that Diary of a Wimpy Kid was as funny as it gets and then I stumbled upon a book written by Sue Townsend titled The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾.
One can not help being astonished by how well a woman author is able to describe the teenage mindset of a young boy, especially during such a turbulent time in his life. For a book that was first published more than thirty years ago, everything described in it feels surprisingly contemporary. I guess some things – like Coming-of-Age experiences — never change.
“…Came home, nobody was in so I played my Abba records at the highest volume until the deaf woman next door banged on the walls…”
The entire book is filled with witty remarks and observations about the weirdness of adults and life in general, made by its 13 ¾ year old protagonist Adrian Mole. He methodically wrote everything that has happened to him in his diary, which turns out to be not so secret. After all, it’s been published for you to read hasn’t it? But then again, true geniuses have to make themselves known. That being said, I found an abundance of uncanny similarities between Sue Townsend’s character and myself: we are both intellectuals and so full of ourselves! Plus I finally have an excuse for my many sleepless nights. In Adrian Moles’s words:
“Us intellectuals keep anti-social hours. It does us good.”
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is a true masterpiece. Written in a diary style, it allows the reader to read short sessions at a time (although I have to admit it is hard to put down) and the first person narrative is nothing short of enchanting. Readers get to co-experience the splendid charm of adolescent worries such as pimples, girls ,love, uncooperative parent figures, bullies, physical changes (like the size of this or that thing) and, of course, making plans for a glorious future:
“I am at the Crossroads in my life. The wrong decision now could result in a tragic loss to the veterinary world. I am hopeless at science. I asked Mr Vann which O levels you need to write situation comedy for television. Mr Vann said that you don’t need qualifications at all, you just need to be a moron.”
Young readers, just like their parents, will find Adrian Mole’s diary entries hilarious, delivering a joyful reading experience from cover to cover. It did not come as a surprise when I read in Wikipedia that the book was a best-seller, and had sold 1.9 million copies by November 1985. Most of the humor in it seems innocent enough (considering the age of the protagonist), yet there is a lot of clever satire that addresses some pretty serious topics – like politics and religion – not to say that growing up isn’t dead serious all on its own.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ gets the highest of recommendations from TheSkyKid.com.
You can find the book at Amazon.com