Last night I went to bed reading a twitter rumour that Sue Townsend had died. This morning I woke to see it had been confirmed.
It is a bit sad even though I didn’t know her. I hadn’t read her own True Confessions book and I don’t think I watched or read an interview with her. The only way I knew her was via Adrian Mole.
I first discovered Mole when I was 11. It was the summer after P7 and was about to start the “big school”. I like maths and science in school but wasn’t that good at English, therefore reading didn’t interest me. For ages my mother tried to encourage me to read various celebrated books for my age group but I would start a chapter, get bored and abandon – or begrudgingly take weeks to read.
One day we were in a Bargain Books in Yorkgate, and my mother found the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. She had seen the TV show and she tried to sell it to me, “You’ll enjoy this!”. “Yeah, whatever!”. Still, I got back to my granny’s and had it read in two days!
Adrian Mole was the first book I read which I didn't have to read. Until then reading was school work. They're all great too.—
Conor Fearon (@conradder) April 11, 2014
One thing that did annoy me was the somewhat abrupt ending (and that he had the audacity to consider straying from Pandora!). These were the days before Wikipedia so I was delighted to see there was more in the series. I then got the first few diaries in one volume for a Christmas present which was read in three days.
Later on, in the “big school” (maybe second year, i cant remember), I had to read Secret Diary for English. I had read it two or three times by then but I didn’t mind reading it again, seeing in school we usually read crap books. Though it did annoy me that the rest of the class didn’t get it or love it as much as I did. To make matters tedious, the teacher gave us a fucking exam on it.
Thankfully, that experience didn’t make me hate Adrain, so I was pleased when Cappuccino Years came out (read in three days).
After that I didn’t get to read any more, these were the old days before the internet was able to tell me what was left in the series and before I had an Amazon account and could source the rest. It was only a few years ago I finished the gut wrenching Prostate Years. It appears to be the last one and it ended perfectly!
So yeah, someone “famous” died. I’m not going to gush like a cretin about it – I didn’t know her but I do owe her, she made reading appealing to me – so thanks Sue.
Now I’m going to go back to the start and read them all again – do yourself a favour and do the same.