This slim volume is a sequel to The Secret Diary and The Growing Pains, but is a collection of shorter pieces, first aired elsewhere, rather than a continuous diary. They span 1984 to 1989, covering Adrian’s late teenage years and his development into a young adult. As usual they are hilarious and bittersweet, with a social conscience. However, I can’t help wishing that they were expanded into a novel, especially now that there won’t be any more in the series.
Two other authors share this book and are reflected in the full title – Susan Lilian Townsend (generously given some space by Adrian) and the mysterious Margaret Hilda Roberts.
Sue Townsend‘s pieces cover a solo holiday to Majorca, a writers’ trip to the Soviet Union, ‘Writing for Television’ – the producer wanting to change her script beyond recognition – and ‘Why I Like England’. I love her combination of dry humour and excellent observational skills.
The diary of Margaret Hilda Roberts of Grantham, aged 14 1/4 (now who could that be?) is wickedly funny but was, no doubt, a more powerful piece of writing at its original time of publication.
I would say that if you are a fan of the Adrian Mole series, this book is a must-read, even though it isn’t as satisfying as a complete novel.
First published in 1989. This edition was reprinted by Arrow in 1998.