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Comedy

Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend

41yMiciSptL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Now in his twenties, the eponymous diarist is not enjoying life. Still an aspiring writer, his debut novel, Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland is not going according to plan and this is only made worse when his schooldays tormentor, Barry Kent, has a book published and is becoming a minor celebrity. His personal life is not faring much better; lodging with the love of his life, Pandora, and her boyfriend is not an ideal situation for Adrian. As his life plummets from one despair to the next, there are little glimmers of hope for our hero that maybe life will, one day, take a turn for the better.

The Adrian Mole series is my go-to set of books that I revisit from time to time if I want to have a good laugh. I remember reading the first book in the series when I was only a child and it is only with hindsight that I wonder if I actually understood what I was reading about! When I saw that The Wilderness Years had recently been serialised on Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, I decided that it would be a good time to ‘read’ this one again.

Still funny the second time round, it is hard not to feel sympathy for our hapless hero who goes from one bad situation to another with ease. Ever the dreamer, Adrian is still longing for Pandora who is enjoying flaunting her succession of lovers in front of him. When he finally realises that there may be other women out there, more suited to him, we begin to see a much happier character. Of course, in true Adrian-style, this turns into another disaster of mega-proportions!

As always, his family are causing him even more problems. His parents are no longer together and the death of a much-loved family member brings a rare solemn moment in what is a funny book; several moments did make me laugh out loud whilst listening.

Although this is not the best in the series, it is still a very humorous book that I will, no doubt, return to once again some time in the future.

 

 

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Teacher, Teacher! by Jack Sheffield

The year is 1977 and Jack Sheffield has just started a new job as head teacher at Ragley Primary School in North Yorkshire. Teacher, Teacher! is the story of his first year in the post, showing how the young, inexperienced teacher deals with the staff, parents and pupils along with the numerous colourful characters of the local village.

Although I mainly read crime and thriller books, occasionally I like to venture into something a little more light-hearted so when I saw Teacher, Teacher! on The Works website, it looked right up my street. As someone who grew up after the time the book is set but remembers primary school with fondness, I looked forward to the book taking me right back to simpler times. As someone who works in education, I was also intrigued to see how schools today compared to Ragley in the 1970s.

Teacher, Teacher! is filled with laugh out loud moments from a cast of larger than life characters. A vivid picture has been painted of life in the school and it was easy to imagine people such as Ruby, the caretaker, and Mrs. Brown, the parent nobody wants to speak to at parents’ evening. There were numerous amusing tales of events such as the school camping trip and sports day – all before the days of health and safety and risk assessments!

The book also has its more poignant moments, the standout ones for me being Jack’s visit to a local special school where he spent his time dancing with a severely disabled child who could only ‘dance with her eyes’. This was a truly beautiful scene. I also enjoyed reading about Ping, a Vietnamese refugee who spent a short time at Ragley school. Both of these stories showed how important a nurturing environment is to children – a stark contrast to the current trend of testing and reducing children to statistics.

Teacher, Teacher! is a heart-warming read and I have already purchased the next in the series.

**BLOG TOUR** Full Metal Cardigan by David Emery

Full-Metal-Cardigan-Front-CoverFull Metal Cardigan is the first book from David Emery, detailing life as a social worker. While this is certainly a serious profession, it has also had its lighthearted and downright bizarre moments, many of which are recalled in this comical yet no-holds-barred look at life in social services.

They (whoever they may be) say that you should laugh in the face of adversity and it’s fair to say that David has found humour in some very dark places! Although he has faced some very dark events in the course of his job such as attempted suicides and physical attacks, he has clearly kept his sense of humour throughout, the numerous tales that had me laughing out loud being testament to this! From stories about being an unwitting driver to a drug dealer to nearly aiding a client on a one-way trip to Dignitas, Full Metal Cardigan provided laughs from beginning to end.

It must be remembered, though, that despite the funny stories, working in social services is not easy and is a profession that comes with a huge amount of responsibility. I have much respect for David and his colleagues, especially when reading about the lengthy working hours and amount of personal danger they are placed in. Not a job I would enjoy!

I really enjoyed Full Metal Cardigan and if you are looking for a quick, light-hearted read then this could just be the book for you!

With thanks to Fledgling Press for my ARC and to Kelly at Love Books Group for organising the blog tour. take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour:

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