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Monday, April 14, 2014

Vale Sue Townsend!

I've just heard that Sue Townsend, the author of The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, has died at the age of only 68 years. It makes you realise that you need to follow your dreams now, because you can't assume you're going to live to some fabulous old age, then die while skydiving!

I remember when that book was a huge international bestseller, with a TV series and a play to keep it so. It must still be selling, because there have been several sequels, but alas, the class set we have on our shelves has been sitting there gathering dust for a long time.

When the book was published, I was an adult and read it as an adult, so I got the in-jokes, but I remember someone commenting that for boys about the age of the hero, it would be embarrassing. Boys, in fact, about the age of those in my Year 8 class.

And it might. Poor Adrian, that naive boy who is going through all the things boys of his age go through plus worrying about, and being embarrassed by, his parents, being dragged along for the ride by his sort-of-girlfriend Pandora, the daughter of middle class lefties(starting with the protest about sock colours at school)... He is a complete dork, but you can't help feeling for him.

At the same time, it's about life in Britain in the Thatcher years; in fact, the author also wrote a diary of "Margaret Hilda Roberts" showing she didn't have much sympathy for that lady.

I never got around to reading the rest of the series and I probably won't now; I suspect it's more of the same, only with an older hero.

But there's no question it's a classic and I'm sad that the author is gone.

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