Sue Townsend - Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (3 stars)

Sue Townsend - Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years

(Michael Joseph)

Reneging on her statement that 2004’s Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction would be the final Mole book, Sue Townsend has returned to her most enduring creation in his 39th (and a quarter) year. That he’s back at all is some achievement, as the clinically blind Townsend must now dictate her novels to her husband. Whether or not the world needs a middle-aged Mole is another matter entirely.

The Prostrate Years is a tour of the frank but deluded Mole’s middle-class concerns, all presented in diary format. The breakdown of his marriage to Daisy, his son Glenn’s Iraq posting and a diagnosis with cancer are all fairly weighty subjects, but Townsend walks the gap between letter-to-the-editor concern (decrying Tony Blair as ‘a weak man who took us into war because of personal vanity’) and glib delusions (claiming Gordon Brown to be ‘Superman’). This will be best enjoyed by established fans of the series.

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