The Cappuccino Years

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9780140292794: The Cappuccino Years

Adrian is thirty-but not yet quite grown-up-and his hilarious diary continues.

In the latest installment of this bestselling saga our hapless hero is now separated from his exotic and accomplished Nigerian wife (did he really think that could last?). He still pines for his first and only true love, Pandora Braithwaite, now a Labour M.P., and works as the cook at a smart London restaurant, Hoi Polloi, which specializes in repulsive working-class food. A chance for a television series, Offally Good!, is promising-at first. But Adrian is once again disappointed. Still, there is the possibility of a career writing cookbooks.

As his true confessions demonstrate, Adrian is making some progress. He is now a single father, and determined to make things good for his three-year-old son. When, to his surprise, he finds that he has another son as well-an updated version of the Master Mole we have come to know and love-he takes responsibility for this boy, too. Adrian Mole remains as neurotic and endearing as ever.

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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

About the Author:

In addition to the Adrian Mole series, Sue Townsend's novels include The Queen and I, Rebuilding Coventry, and Ghost Children, all available from Soho Press. She lives in Leicester, England.

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Sue Townsend
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0140292799 ISBN 13: 9780140292794
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140292799

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