Whenever I read the new volumes of Adrian’s life, I always picture the cast from this adaptation in them. The first series is excellent, the second is merely very good – spoiled slightly by the thick-eared synth-heavy musical cues every time things get a bit sad or even downbeat. Sammarco is now a psychiatric nurse in the East Midlands and no longer acts (he said, reading Wikipedia). I remember my Dad laughing the house down when Adrian accidently glued a model Spitfire to he nose. I was a bit young to see it first time round but Granada repeated it later in the 1980s & I watched it then. Stephen Mangan, who played the television role of Adrian Mole in 2001, said on hearing of her passing, “Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died. The Adrian Mole books described the growing pains and internal worries of a teenage boy, his loves and woes, such as glue sniffing and ending up with model aeroplane stuck to his nose!
Whilst Adrian Mole’s father read Playboy he read Charles Dickens by torchlight and wanted to escape his housing estate existence and find true love with Pandora. Her novels featured wry humour, social commentary on class and economic inequalities, and an independent feminism and socialism. Although she is most famous for creating a teenage boy and all his adolescent angst, it was her female characters that most reflected her own ideals.
She had planned to write one or two more Adrian Mole novels, the 10th and 11th, to cover the Coalition years of the current Government.
Read more reader suggested memorable quotes from Adrian Mole in the comments section of this Guardian piece. Sue Townsend, will undoubtedly be missed, despite her few critics and doubters – as evidenced in some comment threads, but most especially for her warmth, generosity and a style of satire, so eminently British, that is paradoxically both sharp and soft on its targets. Writing, speaking, lecturing, humour, comedy, quotes, inspiration, motivation, mental health, LGBTIQ, equality, human rights, businesses, projects, life journey – all in one passionate purple place.
Creative and responsible young designer, willing to learn and broaden my experience within the art department. It seems to be more about a turn of phrase, and the quickness of the writer's skill that can turn a smile into a guffaw, for me, than it is about the particular situation. One of the books that cracked me up to the point of helplessness at numerous points throughout its reading was Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Sometimes it's as simple as a keen sense of observation and the uncanny ability to call people on their foibles. Then a Santa Elf leads the way to a house where the confused and exhausted visitor addresses a bearded man in a red suit, and says, "Yes, OK.
All I know is what works for me, and the below selection is a pretty good chunk of what has made me annoy my husband by squeaking like a delighted hamster and shaking the bed with laughter while he tries to sleep.


The entry about white men and Asian women, & every Toyota Prius mention, as well as countless other bits.
Here's a lovely Naive Narrator quote: "In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! Two men muddle their way through the woods, risking bears, snakes, and all kinds of certain death.
The opening chapter is very rude and introduces Skinner's devotion to a particular sexual act with no shame at all. A car crash has disastrous results in this bittersweet (but often hysterically funny) novel. Klosterman skewers the drooling, opiated denizens of pop culture, convenience and reality television with a wit so sharp it manages to be even more hilarious than depressing. Silverman's recollection of naked shenanigans with her friend and fellow comedian Louis CK had me snorting. For a book involving HIV infection, suicide attempts, depression, bickering, alcoholism, death and bitterness, the novel is not only moving and sweet, but also surprisingly hilarious in parts. The dialogue between Vizzini and the man in black during the battle of the wits is a masterpiece. After reading High Fidelity the first time, I communicated almost exclusively in top five and top 10 lists for a good few weeks. For all her neuroses and shameful bits, Bridget Jones is just so damn relatable on many levels. The exasperation of the narrator and her bid to stay compassionate in the face of a family of six hellion children made this book a favorite when I was a kid – I remember giggling out loud all the way through. From the bizarre generic world of living in the suburbs, to the trials and tribulations of raising kids, Erma Bombeck phrased things in a way as to make the banal laugh-out-loud funny. Barely a script change, with much of it in monologue with Adrian in his bedroom, staring into the mirror while reading extracts from the diary.
The other week he had great fun with Michael Ball as they discussed The Good Old Days, a series which seems to have been doing well for this channel because they’ve dug some more out. Despite failing her 11-plus exam, leaving school at 15, and being a three-child single mother by 23, she went on to write 17 books, 11 plays and receive half-a-dozen awards including two honorary doctorates.
Her first book, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13? became one of the bestselling books of the 1980s in which it was also set.
To date some 20 million+ copies of the books have sold, as it has spawned numerous sequels and translations, making both Sue Townsend and Adrian Mole famous. Townsend saw a life littered with literature and books as an opportunity for economic, mental, and social escape. Having started on Richmal Crompton’s Just William, she quickly graduated to Jane Eyre, and from there to Dostoevsky.


His were the trials of a teenage boy, intellectually and sexually thwarted, at one and same time. The Falklands, Old and New Labour, Tony Benn, old-school Communist OAP Bert, even the break up of the SDP all featured. She was never vicious and left enough humanity in each character she penned or real people she had her creations criticise for each reader to be left to make up their own minds.
A description of an absurd situation can be funny, but it takes a particular style and sharpness of word choice to get me. I wish these two had collaborated on a regular basis, because while I like Gaiman fine on his own (I was a big fan of the Sandman comic series), and Pratchett is good too (though I've only explored a couple of the Discworld novel), I really think they brought out the best in each other collaboratively.
A great example of that is the book Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander, the self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek guide to the trends and fascinations of white people, from French immersion to hybrid cars to the HBO series The Wire and more.
Sometimes I find him too caustic, too neurotic or too bitter to get me going, but some of his pieces have been perfection. Also, the final battle for good and evil, manipulated by two decidedly imperfect representatives of heaven and hell. What makes this book wonderfully funny is the dialogue, and the main character's cringe-inducing awkwardness. The antics and expressions on the faces of Opus the Penguin, Bill the Cat, Cutter John, Portnoy, Milo and the rest cracked me up explosively every time I read one.
A friend gave me a copy of Sedaris' Holidays on Ice for Christmas one year, and I phoned him and read a passage from the story Santaland Diaries to him, snorting and choking and cackling my way through the whole bit.
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The premise of Santaland Diaries is Sedaris' stint as a Christmas elf at Macy's Department Store, while trying to get on his feet in New York (a problem I sense he does not possess today). I got dressed reading, walked to school reading and finished it in the cloakroom at lunchtime. And while I enjoyed both authors very much (and perhaps didn't choose the best book of each), neither made me emit so much as a titter. Sammarco played the character again, in all but name, in a bad run of high street bank adverts, winking at the cashier and everything.



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