Cover image for Adrian Mole : the Cappuccino years
Title:
Adrian Mole : the Cappuccino years
Author:
Townsend, Sue.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Soho, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xv, 390 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9781569472040
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In his latest confessional diary, Adrian, now thirty, is separated from his exotic and accomplished Nigerian wife, and is a single parent to his three-year-old son. He works as a cook in a smart London restaurant that specializes in repulsive working-class food. When, to his surprise, he finds he has an older son as well, he takes responsibility and finally learns to cope.


Author Notes

Sue Townsend was born in Leicester, England on April 2, 1946. She left school at fifteen and worked a series of jobs before becoming a full-time author. She was best known for her books about the neurotic diarist Adrian Mole including The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years, Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years. Her other works include The Queen and I, Number Ten, The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman Aged 55¾, and The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year. She died after a stroke on April 10, 2014 at the age of 68.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Townsend continues the crisply hilarious saga of Britain's favorite fictional diarist, Adrian Mole. First introduced as a boy in The Adrian Mole Diaries (1986) and revisited during his highly opinionated and wildly hopeful adolescence in Adrian Mole: The Lost Years (1994), Townsend's diary-keeping hero is now 30 years old and still spectacularly and endearingly inept. His latest journal begins in 1997 after his gorgeous and accomplished Nigerian wife has left him and their 2-year-old son, William, who eats nothing but Coco Puffs and spends most of his time with Adrian's flinty mother, while Adrian's perennially depressed father stays in bed, and Adrian's teenage sister fumes and curses. Adrian camps out above the retro-trendy restaurant Hoi Polloi, where he is head chef even though he can't cook, an irrelevancy given their cuisine: the very worst of English fare with an emphasis on offal. Adrian, who dreams of making it big as a television writer, gets a break when he is invited to host a cable show titled Offally Good! and to write a companion cookbook, but chronically hapless and naive, he flubs both opportunities. Meanwhile, his first love, the sexy and unavailable Pandora Braithwaite, wins a seat in the House of Commons, and their parents, much to their children's horror, enact the "Great Mole/Braithwaite Partner Swap." From losing his job to finding an incipient bald spot to discovering that he has another son, Adrian is a comic Job in a world gone mad with irony and greed. But his confused heart brims with love and good intentions, and Townsend skewers end-of-the millennium Britain with acumen and glee. --Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

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 13U. 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 parents--and 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 (Adrian--temporarily--gets 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.) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Wednesday April 30th 1997 I take up my pen once again to record a momentous time in the affairs of men (and, thank God, because this is intended to be a secret diary, I am not required to add `and women').     The day after tomorrow on May 2nd, as dawn breaks, I predict that the Labour Party will just scrape in, and will form the next government. Talk of a landslide victory is hysterical rubbish whipped up by the media.     My own prediction is based on `insider' knowledge. The insider is an actor called Fred Gipton who was in An Inspector Calls with Tony Booth, the father-in-law of our future Prime Minister. Gipton spilled the beans in Hoi Polloi, the restaurant where I work, after two bottles of Jacob's Creek, a Pernod and a vodka sorbet. After begging me to keep `shtum' he told me that he had heard, via a tortuous grapevine, that Mr Blair expected to win with a tiny majority. Three was mentioned. He also told me that Mr Blair wears a wig, but I have freeze-framed a News At Ten video of him alighting from a helicopter on to a school playing-field and I am satisfied that no wig could stand up to the air turbulence caused by the chopper blades. Tony wears his own hair, it is certainement .     So, every vote counts, which is why I will drive up to Ashby-de-la-Zouch tonight after I finish my shift in the restaurant. When I told Savage that I would need to take a day off in order to vote, he went into a tirade about the foolishness of giving `hoi polloi' the vote. `If I ruled the f------ country,' he said (I cannot bring myself to write f------), `I'd restrict the vote to men over forty-five years of age, and I'd narrow it down to those who earned over seventy K a year.'     `You wouldn't allow women to vote?' I checked.     `No, I f------ well wouldn't,' he raged. `They're all f------ mad. If they've not got PMT they've got HRT or VPL.'     I pointed out to him that VPL stands for visible panty line, but he was, as usual, beyond reason. When he began to recount the crimes and misdemeanours of his estranged wife, Kim, I went into the kitchen and made onion gravy for the toad-in-the-hole.     After he calmed down a bit I approached him again. `Mr Savage,' I said, `I have not had a day off for six weeks.'     `How do you intend to vote?' he asked, challengingly.     I resented him asking, but I replied, `Labour.'     `Then no f------ way, Jose,' he shouted, pushing a highball glass under the rum optic, and keeping it there until the glass was half full (or half empty, depending on your personality type). He drank deeply from it, as though the contents were Ribena.     `Why should I lose a valuable member of staff on one of the busiest days of the year and help that shirtlifter Blair get elected?' He coughed, lighting one of his filthy French cigarettes. I pointed out to him that Mr Blair is far from being a poorer, and has, in fact, fathered a trio of children. Savage gave a horrible phlegmy laugh, during which he crossed his legs (he suffers from stress incontinence). He took me to the front door of the restaurant, pointed at the Hot Rods shop opposite. Rod himself was in the shop window, arranging some studded leather underpants on a collection of tiered display plinths. `Now that's a shop for poofters, am I right, Mole?' he said, breathing rum fumes in my face.     `The shop specializes in clothes and equipment for gay men,' I conceded.     `And are none of Rod's customers happily married?' he asked, dropping his voice theatrically.     I said, with heavy irony, `So, Mr Blair's marriage is a sham and his children are nothing but ciphers conceived in the bed of cynicism, so that one day he will deceive the British people into voting for him, thinking him to be a heterosexual socialist, whereas ...'     `Mark my words, Mole, Blair is a "friend of Rod's" if ever I f------ saw one, and he's no f------ socialist either.'     I began to cook the cabbages for dinner. Savage liked them to boil for at least half an hour. My work as a chef has been a doddle since Savage instituted his Traditional English, No Choice menu. Tonight's repast is: Heinz tomato soup (with white bread floaters) * * * Grey lamb chops Boiled cabbage avec Dan Quayle potatoes Dark brown onion gravy * * * Spotted Dick à la Clinton Bird's custard (skin £6.00 extra) * * * Cheddar Cheese, Cream Crackers Nescafé After Eight Mint * * * There are two types of wine--white £46, red £46 * * * Service charge not included. You are expected to smoke between courses. Pipes and cigars are particularly welcome.     The restaurant is fully booked six weeks ahead. Savage turned Princess Michael of Kent away from the door last night. She was distraught.     The restaurant critic A. A. Gill said in his review in the Sunday Times that Hoi Polloi served execrable nursery food. `The sausage on my plate could have been a turd: it looked like a turd, it tasted like a turd, it smelled like a turd, it had the texture of a turd. In fact, thinking about it, it probably was a turd.'     Savage has had Gill's review blown up at the Copy Shop and stuck it up in the window, where it draws admiring crowds.     Around about midnight I asked my fellow workers, those who could understand English, if they intended to vote today. Luigi, the maitre d', is a Communist in Italy, but he will be voting Liberal Democrat in Croydon, where he lives. Malcolm, the washer-upper, said he was thinking of voting Conservative, `because they help the self-employed'. I pointed out to Malcolm that he was only self-employed because Savage refused to pay for a National Insurance stamp and tax, but Malcolm then went on to say that he liked John Major because he (Malcolm) had been fostered by a couple who lived in Huntingdon, Major's constituency. As Malcolm grappled with the Spotted Dick tin in the sink, I asked him about the Conservatives' election pledges.     `They've said they won't put the taxes up,' he said, in his reedy voice.     I said, `Malcolm, you don't pay tax, remember? You get paid cash in hand . You're off the books, which enables you to draw benefits from the DSS. You get free teeth, free travel to hospital, free everything .'     Malcolm said, `On the other hand, I might vote Labour.' Thursday May 1st Dean Street, Soho, London, to Wisteria Walk, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, in three hours. Not bad considering I kept under the speed limit all the way. On the way down I heard the Labour Party candidate for Ashby, Dr Pandora Braithwaite, talking about the importance of family values on Talk Radio. I was so outraged I almost choked on an Opal Fruit and steered into the fast lane. Talk about hypocrisy!     Pandora has shown open contempt for family life. Her first husband, Julian, was openly, in fact boastfully, gay. And her live-in lover, Jack Cavendish, has been married three times and has ten acknowledged children, three of whom have been in drug rehabilitation units up and down the country. The eldest is still languishing in jail in Turkey. Most of the others seem to be attracted to strange religious sects. Tom, the youngest, is a vicar in Hull.     How Pandora ever got past a Labour Party selection committee is a mystery to me. She smokes at least (Continues...) Excerpted from Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years by Sue Townsend. Copyright © 1999 by Sue Townsend. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.