A welcome later addition to the Adrian Mole series, this book spans the gap between The Cappuccino Years and The Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The idea behind the ‘lost diaries’ is that they were confiscated by overzealous police in the wake of the new terrorist threat of 9/11. Several years later, the police had a clear-out and returned the diaries to Adrian.
The years at the end of the old millennium and into the new find our favourite self-proclaimed intellectual a single father with two sons by different mothers. He begins several new works of fiction that never go anywhere and tries to navigate the pitfalls of parenthood. Meanwhile, his parents are marrying for the third time, the foot and mouth crisis is happening, everyone is glued to Big Brother and his first love Pandora continues her political career. New characters in the story include garage owner Mohammed, sinister folk singer Alan Clarke, lonely elderly lady Mrs Wormington, the criminal neighbours the Ludlows, pretentious half-brother Brett and romantic interest Pamela Pigg.
As always, the writing is packed with wry social commentary. It can also be considered evidence that two decades ago (or thereabouts), when these diaries are set, was the beginning of our current information age. Email and the internet are more of a feature in the book, with most characters having access and Adrian commenting that the year 2000 was 1984 as his ex-wife knows everything about him via technology.
If you’re reading through the series, this instalment isn’t essential for the chronology (no major turning points in Adrian’s personal life) but if you’re a completist then go for it.
Published in 2008 (book format), first published in 1999-2001 (The Guardian).