Review of ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole’ by Sue Townsend

The events in this book are set in 1982-3, following immediately on from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, the day after Adrian went to hospital to have a model aeroplane unglued from his nose. In that sense, the two diaries are really volumes of the same book. However, the content of this one is more sombre and more overtly political, with its preoccupation with Social Security benefits, the Falklands War, Greenham Common and of course it includes 15-year-old Adrian’s famous poem about Margaret Thatcher.

All of our favourite characters make an appearance, from foul octogenarian Bert Baxter and his vicious Alsatian Sabre, to dictatorial headmaster Pop-Eye Scruton, no-nonsense Grandma, uncool youth club leader Rick Lemon, possibly gay best friend Nigel and illiterate bully Barry Kent. The family dog (which has no name) is again a major character. Adrian’s personal life is chaotic as usual. His immoral parents keep splitting up and getting back together, there are two surprise pregnancies, a bereavement, his O-levels are looming and his on-off girlfriend Pandora wants to keep their relationship chaste. He continues to send his poems to the BBC but has not yet been offered his own show.

As always, re-reading this book makes me laugh. It’s a modern classic and is packed full of good old British humour, cynicism and soap opera.

First published in 1984.

6 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole’ by Sue Townsend”

  1. Interesting review! I haven’t had a desire read other books in this series maybe because I love the original first book so much. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 was one of my favourite books growing up, and I probably first read it when I was around 14. I thought it was very interesting, funny, sometimes. I thought the less Adrian said the more we wanted to know, especially about his relationship with Pandora, and I still remember many lines. You are right, the books now provide a fascinating glimpse into history.

    1. Thanks! That’s interesting you’ve only read the first one and even though you loved it, were not inclined to try the others. The first one will always be the best. I’m re-reading the series again!

      1. I might need to do that again when I finally get my books out of storage. It made me happy just to think about these stories again, thanks for the reminder! 🙂

        1. I’m re-reading a lot at the moment, it’s a comfort thing which has helped me through the tough times 🙂

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