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On the eve of Tony Blair's election, Adrian Mole discovers that he is losing his hair. And so begins the latest installment in the "Adrian Mole" saga, which began with the popular and entertaining The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 133/4, published here in 1984. Now in his "cappucino years," Adrian is a single father and chef who struggles financially. His personal life continues to be complicated by his dysfunctional family, his still unrequited love for Pandora Braithwaite, and the revelation that he is father to not one but two sons. Pandora compares Adrian's life to a "situation comedy," and Townsend tries to ring humor from Adrian's failure in his various roles, which include husband, son, and writer. It is not until the end of the book that he finds some redemption in his role as father. And therein lies the greatest single flaw in this bookDthe teenage angst that was so funny in the younger Adrian wears thin in a man in his 30s who whines about his struggles to define himself as an adult. This is sure to be requested by loyal Mole fans, but its appeal to new readers will be limited.DCaroline M. Hallsworth, Sudbury P.L., Ontario Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Townsend's hilarious, uniquely British creation, Adrian Mole, first appeared on the literary scene as a spotty teenager in 1982 with the publication of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13\. Mole has become a lovable, frustrated intellectual whose misguided introspectiveness and rash impulsiveness keep him on a cycle of failure and rebound. In this amusing sixth book in the series, Adrian, now 30, is divorced and the father of two sons (William, almost three years old, and Glenn, 12). His good friends are still around: old flame Pandora "we adore ya" Braithwaite has been elected a Labour MP by capitalizing on her short, tight skirts to win votes; best friend Nigel is trying to figure out how to tell his family he's gay. To Adrian's horror, his parents swap partners with Pandora's parentsDand his dad discovers Viagra. Despite his ineptitude at cooking, Adrian works as the head chef at a snooty restaurant called Hoi Polloi, which specializes in "execrable nursery food." It is typical of Townsend's humor that characters are feted for what they are not (AdrianDtemporarilyDgets his own cooking show, "Offally Good!") and unacknowledged for what they are (no one recognizes Adrian's responsible honesty as a father). Throughout, Townsend's lively prose sparkles, giving life to the myriad trivial events of Adrian's day. Adrian makes the inevitable comparison to Bridget Jones: "The woman is obsessed with herself!... She writes as though she were the only person in the world to have problems." Mole composes a brief letter to Jones, asking if she has any advice for getting his diaries published. It's a good thing for readers that Townsend figured out how to do that a long time ago. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.