actually wanted to re-read them the other day ......
Sue Townsend, queen of adolescent nerds and confessional publishing, has died. She was 68. Townsend is best known for her creation Adrian Mole, protagonist of The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 in 1982 and Growing Pains of Adrian Mole in 1984. The works, which tapped into the greasy, moist seam of teenage boy angst, …
Ah yes, the days when parents let their young teens read the first book and prepared themselves for the awkward questions afterwards. (*)
"Mum? What are ..."
<what's she going to ask? what's she going to ask!?>
" ... Tunisian Baggage Handlers?"
(genuinely happened to some family friends)
(*) As the article alludes, these were probably the first (or at least the first, successful) Young Adult/Aimed at Teens books that frankly discussed a number of topics that were formerly "behind the bike sheds"/"unsubstantiated gossip"/"things the older kids told you (or lied to you) about" areas!
Reading this obit (and others today) you'd be forgiven for thinking that Adrian Mole had died, rather than his creator. Yes, the Adrian Mole books are the most well-known books by Sue Townsend, but she wrote more than just those...yet the non-Mole stuff hardly seems to get a mention. Take "The Queen and I"...superb story but, like the rest of her output, it's going un-noted
And until this day, I cannot look at a swan without (a) remembering that "they can break your arm, you know" and (b) laughing at the bureaucratic response Mole received addressed to Mr. Swan on this very subject.
But what of "The Cappuccino Years", which reminds me that it is time for my afternoon recharge?
Yep, far too young. Don't copy her and be "the world's worst diabetic" (her words).
Blind, renal failure then transplant, 2 strokes (from the Guardian obituary)... listening to your doctor is a pain in the arse; the only thing worse is if you ignore them.
DOI: a doctor who tries to persuade patients the future is coming, no matter how much they hide.
Very sad news, I'd known about her diabetes and blindness but hadn't expected this. I understand she was in the middle of writing a new Adrian Mole book.
The first two books shaped my own adolescence. I recently re-read through all of the Mole books and, while I remember the first two fondly, I grew increasingly annoyed with Adrian through the later books. While the other characters progressed with their lives, careers, relationships etc, Adrian never really seemed to grow up beyond the age of 13 3/4...
Being a couple of years older than Moley, I enjoyed the original diary, as well as finding it slightly embarrassing. Adrian's problems are pretty ageless and have been encountered by 14 year old boys probably since the stone age. Very funny. Vaguely remember him raging against somebody called the "stick insect", think it was his dad's girlfriend.
Townsend was not a trained writer. Born in Leicester in 1946, Townsend had lived what most of us would consider a “conventional life” before she had hit 25: she left school at 15, was married aged 18 and had divorced and was living as a single parent with three children at the age of 23
Getting married at 18 and being a single parent by 23 were certainly not conventional events in the 1964/69, although they are fairly common in 2014.
You think? Both my mother and my aunt were married in their teens - my aunt in 1955 and my mother in 1972 - and my mother was a single parent at 23. Slightly outside your window, but when it's happening before and after it was certainly happening in between.