Brillo pad! It’s Adrian Mole’s Big 50!

Adrian Mole

Gian Sammarco as Adrian Mole in the TV adaptation.

Sunday, 2nd April, 2017.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Couldn’t possibly blog today without noting the fact that one of my favourite characters from the world of literature, Adrian Albert Mole, is hitting his Big 50 today! Brillo pad, as Adrian himself was noted for saying in his diaries, penned by the late great Sue Townsend! Such a shame she didn’t live to see her most famous creation celebrate this milestone birthday.

For me, Adrian is a character very close to my heart, and only 6 years older than I am – he’s 50, I’m only a few weeks away from turning 44. We shared an enormous dislike of and ineptitude for PE and pretty much had a crap time at school all round, although I did have music to get me through my lousy time in compulsory education, particularly at high school! The first two Adrian Mole books were the YA books of my 80s childhood and adolescence! I was around 11 or 12 when I first read them, in my first year at high school, some time around 1984 or 1985, and back then, they were very contemporary – they were set in the early 80s, so only a few years previously, spanning a time period which included such events as the Royal Wedding, the Falklands Conflict, and the start of Channel 4!

Much as I’ve also enjoyed the later ones, it’s those first two books, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, which are probably my all-time most-read books! They’ve had to be sellotaped back together several times! They were my coming of age books as I went through some of the same shit as Adrian, particularly the spots and the general awfulness of high school.

(Probably why I still like nerdy lads in today’s YA novels, such as Greg Gaines in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines. It’s that sense of being in the same boat as them, I can relate to their difficulties in fitting in. I’d be able to relate to nerdy girls, having been one, too, but it seems most nerds in fiction are lads, so I have to make do with my male equivalent!)

Over the years, as I’ve read and re-read these books, and the subsequent volumes of Adrian’s diaries, I’ve got more and more out of them. There were things in those books that maybe I didn’t “get” when I first got those books, although I loved them from the start. I made the same mistake as Adrian on one score, actually. I also thought Evelyn Waugh was a woman! Evelyn was a woman’s name, as far as I was aware – had no idea until much later that it could also be a bloke’s name! One of the other literary amusements which I understood later was when Adrian borrows Pride and Prejudice from the library, but finds it very old fashioned and comments that he thinks Jane Austen “should write something more modern”!

Having read that novel for GCSE English Literature in my high school days, I can say that Pride and Prejudice was actually quite modern for its day, dealing with such contentious issues as circulating libraries, which were a big deal back then! However, Miss Austen is unable to write anything we would see as modern, Adrian, because she popped her clogs in July 1817, two hundred years ago this summer!

(Unless, of course, Adrian might fancy reading that mash-up edition, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol!)

I have not read ALL the same books as Adrian, but I know we have at least another one in common, without even getting my paperback or e-book editions out. Adrian definitely reads Animal Farm, by George Orwell, at one point, a book which I also read at high school for GCSE English Literature.

Wonder if the TV series based on the first two Adrian Mole books is on YouTube? The title song, Profoundly In Love With Pandora, was recorded and performed by the late great Ian Dury. Gian Sammarco played Adrian, his mum, Pauline Mole, was played by Julie Walters in the first series, and Lulu in the second. Beryl Reid played May Mole, Adrian’s grandma.

I’ve been known to keep diaries, on and off, over the years, particularly on holidays, and these blogs are diaries in a way, although not secret ones, obviously, lol! These are an account of my lifelong love of books and my adventures in the world of reading matter… books I’ve heard of, books I’ve read, books I skimmed when I was at uni because I needed to note the important bits for essays and exams but didn’t really have time to read the entire novel… I guess this blog, if we’re doing it in the style of Adrian Mole, would be entitled something like this…

The Not-Remotely-Secret Bookworm Diary of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, Aged 44 In 3 Weeks’ Time!

But that’s a bit long-winded, so Joanne’s Bookshelf it is, lol!

Since August 2010, I’ve blogged about books I’ve loved, books which have had me laughing my arse off in public and getting some odd looks (Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby springs to mind here!), books which grew on me, books I’ve thought were alright, the occasional book I’ve not enjoyed and have left unfinished because it wasn’t floating my boat… Life’s too damn short to be reading stuff which doesn’t grab you when there are hundreds of thousands of other books out there which might be your cup of tea!

I shall get this published so you can spend Adrian’s birthday reading it and, hopefully, enjoying it! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jess Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
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Filed under Authors, Books, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, School, College & Uni Reading, Television, YA Books

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