Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
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first edition cover
|5 November 2009|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Lost Diaries of Adrian Mole, 1999-2001|
Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years is the last installment in the Adrian Mole series of novels by Sue Townsend. It is set between 2007 and 2008. It was released on 5 November 2009. It was the last book in the series published before Townsend's death in 2014.
Adrian Mole is 39-and-a-quarter. Unable to afford the mortgage on his riverside apartment, he has been forced to move into a semi-detached converted pigsty next door to his parents, George and Pauline. His ravishing wife Daisy loathes the countryside, longs for Dean Street and has yet to buy a pair of Wellingtons; they are both aware the passion has gone out of their marriage, but neither knows how to reignite the flame. To cap it all, Adrian is leaving his bed numerous times a night to go to the lavatory and has other alarming symptoms, leading him to suspect prostate trouble.
Meanwhile, his mother thinks that an appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show might solve the mystery of her daughter's paternity. Adrian also discovers that the assumption that he is George and Pauline's natural child might be unfounded. To add to his misery, he is impeded by his prostate trouble. As Adrian's worries multiply, a phone call to his old flame Dr Pandora Braithwaite ignites memories of a shared passion and makes him wonder—is she the only one who can save him now?
Daisy Mole (née Flowers)
Daisy is now married to Adrian and is living with him in The Piggeries, to her constant misery. She and Adrian grow further apart during the course of the book and she leaves him as a result, following an affair with a wealthy landowner Hugh Fairfax-Lycett.
Gracie is Adrian and Daisy's young daughter. She enjoys dressing up in her favourite costumes in place of her school uniform and has become slightly obsessed with High School Musical. Throughout the course of the book, Adrian frequently feels that he has been emotionally neglectful of her, resulting in her lack of respect towards him. She is partially named after her paternal grandmother (her full name is Gracie Pauline Mole).
Pauline, Adrian's mother is more central to this book's storyline and is a comforting female presence in the life of Daisy, Adrian's wife. During the course of the book, she is working on a highly exaggerated semi-autobiographical novel entitled A Girl Called "Shit" (a pun on the real-life novel A Child Called "It"). The early parts of the autobiography, read by Adrian, are sad - but Pauline soon adopts a brighter tone.
Adrian's father. George is a full-time wheelchair user and still continuing his unhealthy lifestyle, despite having had a stroke. During the book, he discovers that he is not Rosie Mole's biological father whilst appearing with Pauline and Alan Lucas (Rosie's biological father) on The Jeremy Kyle Show. He is very fond of Gracie, Adrian's daughter.
Adrian's son Glenn is in Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the British Army, despite his admission that he does not understand what the conflict is about. He comes home only once during the book and begins a relationship with a girl named Finley-Rose, which leads to an engagement and Finley-Rose's pregnancy.
Nigel, Adrian's friend from his school-days, is still living in his granny flat and soon meets fellow gay blind man Lance Lovett, who comes to live with him. He is less than impressed with his new guide dog after his beloved dog Graham dies unexpectedly. Near the end of the book, Nigel marries Lance.
Mr Hugh Carlton-Hayes
Adrian's employer at the antiquarian bookshop, Mr Carlton-Hayes is still going strong despite previous evidence that he might retire and leave the shop to Adrian. He is occasionally absent from work due to ill-health and eventually spends a short stay in hospital with back trouble, where he becomes somewhat addicted to reality TV programmes. Towards the end of the book, Mr Carlton-Hayes is forced to close the bookshop due to lack of finances.
Brett is the illegitimate son of George Mole and Doreen Slater. Initially a successful businessman, he visits Adrian's parents following Doreen's sudden death and is frequently arrogant and degrading towards Adrian and Bernard. He later loses his fortune and hangs around The Piggeries, usually drunk.
Bernard is a strange, eccentric and frequently drunk man who Adrian calls in to look after the bookshop due to both Mr Carlton-Hayes and his own frequent absences due to illness. Adrian notes that Bernard is an expert on antique books but isn't very pleasant to customers, to the point where he has been blacklisted from working at any Waterstones or Borders. He invites himself to Christmas dinner at Adrian's home and refuses to leave until Adrian has recovered from his prostate cancer, taking up permanent residence. Adrian and Bernard become close friends during Bernard's stay at The Piggeries, helping Adrian with household chores and a friendly ear. At the end of the book he purchases a number of chickens and a pig (including suitable dwellings for the livestock) for Adrian as a 'thank-you' present.
Pandora Braithwaite (BA, MA, D.Phil, MP) is Adrian's childhood sweetheart, and despite being opposed to the Iraq war and a vocal critic of Tony Blair, is still in a prominent position in government and knows Gordon Brown personally. Throughout the course of the book, Pandora frequently calls and visits Adrian after he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. There is a very slow and subtle re-ignition of her feelings for Adrian throughout the book and she admits several times that she loves him and thinks of him a lot. She unexpectedly arrives at Adrian's home on the final page of the book, as Adrian sits under the trees outside. The book ends as Adrian stands up and walks towards her.