Adrian Mole The Cappuccino Years by Sue Townsend (1999)

Jeepers, need nappies for this one.

With more great lines than the movie Scarface, this book is chronically funny. Do not eat peanuts while reading.

They say that great lines can make you fart with laughter.

Well.

Anyway, let’s focus on Ms Townsend’s particular talent in plying the three big no-gos of punctuation.

Writers tend to veer away from using italics, screamers [exclamation marks], and caps because they can blow up in your face. But the maestra Townsend knows how to wield them with alacrity.

Of the narrator protagonist Adrian Mole, The Daily Telegraph said, “As a twit he stands alone.”

I concur. The Cappuccino Years finds Mole still a total loser in his thirties. Burned out relationships. Burned out marriages. Burned out house. So…

Italics? Make ’em cringe-worthy.

‘Her glossy lips were open, showing Harpic-white teeth. Her eyes said bedroom.’

Lovely. Oh, go on, let’s have another.

‘The man is a sartorial disaster area. He is the Pompeii of menswear.’

Oh, no there I go again.

Screamers? Here are some deft ones, with some potent italicisation.

Christ, she’s a wanker’s dream! She’s a dislocated wrist! She’s duvet heaven!’

Hang on a sec, need to open a window.

Caps? Be brave, and lavish and slather.

[After a long and knee-slapping all-caps rant about being a father] ‘THIS IS NOT HOW I EXPECTED MY LIFE TO TURN OUT!’

And I say: THANK YOU, Sue Townsend!!

See, us amateurs shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near ’em.

Thanks for being here.

Buy The Cappuccino Years (free delivery, cardboard wrapping)

PS BTW, have made it easier to leave a comment – you don’t need to log in. So knock yourself out.

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Book Bore

Guy Nicholls, writer and book bore.

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