Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (Sue Townsend)

When I was aged 12 and one quarter, my Mum shoved a battered copy of 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole' into my hands. As one of those kids who inhales books, I got started on it straight away, and thus began the obsession. OK, so I didn't get some of the eighties references (to this day, I don't know who Malcolm Mudderidge is) but that didn't matter. I was hooked.

'Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years' is Townsend's latest offering, but even so, I have to confess to being a little late to the party (it was published in 2009). In this book, Adrian is living in a converted pigsty with his wife and daughter. His (now remarried for the third time) mother and father live in the other half of the pigsty but, perhaps suprisingly, this turns out to be the least of his worries.

There's something about reading Adrian Mole books; perhaps it's the reassuring familiarity of the characters, or perhaps the way that Adrian's turns of ill-fortune and social awkwardness put your own into perspective. Mainly I think it's the way that Townsend brings her characters to life, turning the ordinary into something simultaneously heart-warming and hilarious. It's the literary equivalent of watching The Royle Family, and I love it.

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