Saturday Night Social: The Night Belongs to Sue Townsend


Tonight we raise a glass and bid a fond farewell to Sue Townsend.

Townsend, who passed away this week was the creator of the Adrian Mole series and an inspiration to acne-ridden, confused teens everywhere (I read the first three books in the Mole series at least five times during high school) (This was also around the time I basicaly bathed in Noxzema).

Townsend was beloved not only for her comic genius, but the fact that the stories she crafter presented a realistic and unique view of the world. Having followed Adrian Mole from 13 to 40, it was heartening and comforting to realize that not everyone gets it together by 20, and that even by thirty (and maybe even forty?) most of us are still stumbling around the world, trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up. Townsend herself is an example of how long it can tae to discover one’s path in life. She wrote in secret for years (while working in shops and factories) and only started writing professionally in her 30s, after she joined a writer’s group.

Adrian Mole was only one of Townsend’s wonderful creations. She was also an award-winning playwright, published several stand-one novels and authored a column about her life for Sainsbury’s magazine for over a decade. The best of these columns were collected in The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman, which is a delight.

For many, myself included, Adrian Mole was much more than a character; he was a friend. I mourn Townsend’s passing and I mourn the fact that without her we will never know how Adrian will make it through his forties, his fifties and beyond. For that, we will have to use our imagination.

Who were the writers that had an impact on you during your formative years? Let’s discuss that and everything else in the comments below. Have an excellent Saturday Night!

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