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Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years Hardcover – August 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Adrian Mole is balding, he's bitter, and he's back, this time at age 30. Though he may be older, Sue Townsend's comic creation is certainly no wiser. With his marriage to a Nigerian beauty in tatters, he passes his time dreaming of old flame Pandora Braithwaite, now a shining star in Tony Blair's new government. But underneath the layers of experience and sophistication, fans of the Mole family will find the same dysfunctional mess that made The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 an instant bestseller. This diarist's young son is being brought up by his mother in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, his 16-year-old sister has left home to live with her multiply pierced boyfriend, and his father is bed-bound with manic depression. Adrian himself still makes constant lists of juvenile neuroses, and spends an unhealthy amount of time grading his penile performance (only when he reaches the bleak score of zero out of 10 does he finally take action).

And what of his career? The hero of The Cappuccino Years works at Soho's Hoi Polloi restaurant, rustling up deliberately grubby blue-collar cuisine, from "Heinz tomato soup (with white bread floaters)" to "Boiled cabbage avec Dan Quayle Potatoes." At a certain point, he's spotted by a cable producer and ends up starring in a television show celebrating offal--yes, it's called Offally Good. Yet even Adrian is somewhat perplexed by his culinary gifts:

My mother's family (Norfolk) were practically illiterate, and seemed to live on boiled potatoes with HP sauce, and my father's family (Leicester) viewed books with deep suspicion, unless they had pictures which "broke up the pages." My paternal grandmother, May Mole, was a plain cook, who regarded eating as a gross indulgence. Thank God she died before I became a professional chef. It was her proud boast that she had never eaten in a proper restaurant in her life. She spoke of restaurants as others speak of crack dens.
As the above should make clear, Townsend's acerbic (and very English) wit is still much in evidence. Occasionally she'll go to corny lengths for a joke: "I arrived at the Brent Cross shopping centre car-park, to find that my car had been towed away five days ago and was in a police compound somewhere in Purley. A £25 cab ride took me to the Purley gates." True Mole fanatics, however, will forgive Townsend her infrequent excesses. Accessible, amusing, and appealing, The Cappuccino Years reflects an Adrian who has tolerated the growing pains and survived the lost years. Now he's ready to face the only really important question: Is it cheating to use Viagra? --Lucie Naylor

From Publishers Weekly

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 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; First American Edition edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569472041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569472040
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Fultonbot on July 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Adrian's last outing ("The Lost Years", or "The Wilderness Years", depending on your geographic location and luck with bargain bins) was quite good, but seemed a bit disjointed and not alltogether familiar, unlike the first two books. Such was the nature of the subject, following Adrian through his college-age years and into early adulthood. It was an encouraging new beginning from Sue Townsend, but not completely satisfying.
The new book, "Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years" captures the spirit of the old Mole books perfectly. The reader will feel at home (albeit a completely disfunctional one) with the love(low)life shenanigans of Adrian's parents, his sister, and grandparents, as well as his many weird and wonderful friends.
Townsend's knack for identifying trends and pop-culture has been re-invigorated. For example: The appearance of another well-known diarist and its affect on Adrian and his writing is absolutely hilarious.
Adrian still does not "get it" all the time, and he is completely inept with his love-life. At some points you might get so mad at the characters that you want to scream at them. However the disarming, underlying sweetness of it all will catch you off-guard. You will soon find yourself laughing at it instead. It is over much to fast, leaving the reader begging for more (hear that Ms. Townsend...more!)
This is a wonderful book. If you are new to the series, I would suggest, that you read the other 3 books first, because it will make this one all-the-more enjoyable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jane Pek on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
An easy and amusing read, but disappointing in its fluffiness. The record-in-full conversations and entries that spanned twenty-plus pages strained credulity. Also, this book seems to have lost its edge of cynicism, black humour and despair that made the earlier Mole books stand out so much. In fact, it's become - horrors! - rather feel-good, much in the vein of Bridget Jones (who makes a guest appearance); bouncing from one exaggerated situation to another. Why is this so?
For one, the tone of wide-eyed naiveity and complete self-absorption that worked when Adrian was a spotty teenager doesn't quite cut it as a thirty-something year old with two kids. For another, Adrian Mole is morphing into someone more human and more aware than ever before - he's actually turning *normal*, which takes a lot of fun out of it. He seems to have lost a certain zest, along with his youth and his hair - he's even coming to recognise his own failings. That's dangerous for someone who has failed as much as him. Lastly, even though he's still one of the biggest losers anyone can ever meet, he actually attains a certain measure of success this round (he publishes a book! albeit one written by his mother; a woman finds him attractive! albeit a psychotic stalker; he *almost* has sex with Pandora! but of course, not quite). Again, this completely goes against the grain of what it is to be *Adrian Mole*.
Still, I enjoyed Bridget Jones popping in (very apt, considering Adrian Mole was *the* diarist of the eighties while she's *the* diarist of the nineties); felt proud of myself when I got the Eric Blair/George Orwell reference; and chuckled at all the snide remarks made about Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JACK C. BROWN on August 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I dipped into the latest installment detailing Adrian Mole's chaotic life with the anticipation of his showing some growth, either socially, intellectually or professionally. Adrian, however, remains inept on all three fronts, yet still manages to survive. Rather than be frustrated with Mole's inability to learn from his past and to put hard-won life lessons to work for himself, author Sue Townsend may be subtly pointing out that we all, regardless of advancing years, repeat the patterns that we have established when we were also children.
It is also a great treat to have that other notorious British diarist, Bridget Jones, make a cameo appearance in Adrian's life.
Though the narrative retells a plot that is wearing thin (let's show just how big a screw-up Adrian is), it made me smile, even laugh aloud once or twice at Adrian's ineptitude. Read the book, for sheer fun, but don't expect to witness any growth or greater self-awareness come to Adrian. The ingenuousness displayed on a 13-yr-old Adrian does not wear well on a man in his 30s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hassan Galadari on April 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The major difference between British and American comedey is that the former is wry, full of self-loathing and very witty. This book takes you on a journey in the life of life's biggest losers. Someone, you know can't very will exist in this world, but also know that he may very well be your next door neighbor, your cousin or heck maybe you, yourself.
Adrian Mole is every person's nightmare. A person you really want to pity, but can't very well waste your emotions on. He goes on with his life, with no motivation and no control but still manages to survive by the skin of his teeth. What is even more incredulous is the fact that he just keeps moving along as if nothing completely happened and there's nothing seriously wrong with things. It's his complete lack of insight that the reader can find quite funny indeed. He lives mainly on dreams of what he wished for himself, the way he thought life should be and the fact that life is completely giving him the backhand on his every endeavour. A lot of the mistakes he moves through seem never to leave a mark on him. He just never learns and continues to live in his fantasy life. This could be completely absurd, but through it all, it is THE most funniest thing anyone can set eyes and is rightfully enjoyful.
With regard to the story telling. the book is in diary form and the reader gets to see life in the eyes of Adrian. The narration is simple, witty and at times thought provoking. You see how Adrian sees his life and how life actually sees him. The reader gets to experience different major events and how they affect Adrian's outlook on things. The election of Tony Blair as PM, the Diana tragedy and the funniest of them all, the Clinton scandal.
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