Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
22nd February 2010
Almost 40, Adrian is living with his second wife, next to his parents in a converted pigsty. The diary is another interesting insight into his life, and I think being older has helped me to appreciate more of the subtleties of Adrian's behaviour.
It's well written, jumping into the plot several years down the line from the end of the previous diary, and yet managing to successfully introduce all the necessary characters without destroying the flow of the diary style entries. The characters are still very much the same, while continuing to expand in new and interesting ways.
The book starts off brilliantly, having me laughing by page two, but the comedy seems to fall off a little as the plot descends. Adrian seems a little more obsessive and neurotic than I remember, although I'm not sure if that's just because I can see more of what is happening reading with older eyes. The book deals excellently with Adrian's prostate trouble, giving enough detail for me to emphasise and understand what he is going through (although I speak as someone with my own similar experience), while remaining detached and delicate enough that it doesn't become uncomfortable to read.
Townsend introduces a range of new characters whose motivations and actions completely baffle Adrian, which in one case does become a little over the top in one particular instance. I found it to be a fun book overall - a little romp, although possibly darker than the previous books in the series.
The ending however seems a little abrupt - some of the stories end satisfactorily but a number of threads seem to be cut off rather sharply or just left hanging. The very end is dissatisfying as well, almost as if the final paragraph has been left out. Still a good book, and I would love to read more. I might even go back and re-read the previous novels.