cover image Adrian Mole -C

Adrian Mole -C

Sue Townsend. Soho Press, $24 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56947-204-0

Townsend's hilarious, uniquely British creation, Adrian Mole, first appeared on the literary scene as a spotty teenager in 1982 with the publication of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13\. Mole has become a lovable, frustrated intellectual whose misguided introspectiveness and rash impulsiveness keep him on a cycle of failure and rebound. In this amusing sixth book in the series, Adrian, now 30, is divorced and the father of two sons (William, almost three years old, and Glenn, 12). His good friends are still around: old flame Pandora ""we adore ya"" Braithwaite has been elected a Labour MP by capitalizing on her short, tight skirts to win votes; best friend Nigel is trying to figure out how to tell his family he's gay. To Adrian's horror, his parents swap partners with Pandora's parentsDand his dad discovers Viagra. Despite his ineptitude at cooking, Adrian works as the head chef at a snooty restaurant called Hoi Polloi, which specializes in ""execrable nursery food."" It is typical of Townsend's humor that characters are feted for what they are not (AdrianDtemporarilyDgets his own cooking show, ""Offally Good!"") and unacknowledged for what they are (no one recognizes Adrian's responsible honesty as a father). Throughout, Townsend's lively prose sparkles, giving life to the myriad trivial events of Adrian's day. Adrian makes the inevitable comparison to Bridget Jones: ""The woman is obsessed with herself!... She writes as though she were the only person in the world to have problems."" Mole composes a brief letter to Jones, asking if she has any advice for getting his diaries published. It's a good thing for readers that Townsend figured out how to do that a long time ago. (Aug.)