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Adrian Mole and the WMDs, by Sue Townsend


I guess everyone knows this, but I’ll say it anyway – nobody does humour like the British.

The book is a diary of one Adrian Mole – a man with two failed marriages and with a kid from each, who somehow ends up making the worst possible political, emotional and financial choices. His genius lies not only in having absolutely no idea about what to do with his life, but also in lacking the will to implement any good ideas that he might run into by accident. Yet even though he’s such a goof, the one thing that “he” manages brilliantly is to document his life with words so funny that it literally makes one laugh out loud.

In the introduction to one of P. G. Wodehouse’s books, the writer talks about the two laws of writing humour – one, readers won’t laugh at anything unbelievable; and two, give them something delightful enough and they’ll believe anything. The delightfulness of Adrian mole almost makes one swallow one’s disbelief at his talent for self-expression tied to his obvious goofiness.

There are too many funny quotes to quote, but the one I remember most is his justification for paying £60 a month for 200 cable TV channels while being mired in debt: “A man of my intellect cannot afford to ignore global culture.” Priceless as Adrian’s greatly overdrawn Mastercard.

After reading up a bit about Sue Townsend and the other Adrian series, I see that the books always have a political angle. There’s a lot in the book about the war on Iraq – Adrian’s devotion to Tony Blair’s sincerity is oft-mentioned, and yet comes into question as his eighteen year old son is sent into battle in Iraq, which lends the book an almost serious tone at the end. Yet it’s extremely well presented and doesn’t detract from the book.

Great reading, gave me a lot of laughs; and a few moments of reflection.

(The reflection part is just me – those who know me know that I’m a nutjob who can’t read even a product description on a website, much less a book, without trying to extract some meaning out of it)

Rating: 3.5 / 5

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