The final and 9th installment in the ongoing adventures of everyone's favorite diarist, Adrian Mole. Adrian Mole is 39 and a quarter and he has moved into the renovated pigsties with his parents. His marriage is a mess and his wife can't stand the country, let alone living in a former pigsty. His daughter, Gracie, is causing a great deal of trouble both at home and at school, and, to top it off, he's going to the bathroom several times a night, causing him to suspect a prostate problem.
He's right, and when he goes to get it checked out, he is told that he has prostate cancer. Throughout the book he is regularly going for chemotherapy and other treatments for his cancer.
To further complicate issues, Mr. Carlton-Hayes, his mentor at the bookshop where he works is obviously ill. He's increasingly absent from work and more and more dependent on Adrian. Due to his increasing frailty, Adrian calls the notorious Bernard Hopkins to help out at the store. Bernard is an angry and completely unrepentant inebriate who has worked at the store before. He has a deep love for books, and while this can sometimes get in the way, it is this quality which, despite his other flaws, endears him to both Carlton-Hayes and Adrian.
His mother decides to go on the “The Jeremy Kyle show” to find out the paternity of Adrian's sister Rosie. This is roughly the British equivalent of going on Jerry Springer. Adrian is naturally horrified, both by his aversion to airing dirty laundry in such a public forum, and by his mother's choice of venues, since “Jeremy Kyle” is notoriously low-class.
However, even though it was her decision to go on the show, it turns out badly for her, since the audience and Jeremy Kyle see her as the villain when it turns out that another man is Rosie's father.
After “the Jeremy Kyle Show,” she starts writing a memoir of her life, though it's mostly a work of fiction rather than autobiography. It details her experiences as young girl on the Northumbrian potato fields.
Bernard Hopkins comes over for Christmas dinner and vows to stay until Adrian's cancer is gone. In effect, this means that he intends to stay indefinitely.
Eventually, Mr. Carlton-Hayes illness and the lack of profits at the shop mean that he is forced to close, leaving both Adrian and Bernard without work.
Finally, his wife Daisy eventually starts an affair with a local landowner, Hugh Fairfax-Lycett. Fairfax-Lycett is aristocratic in style. However, Daisy and Adrian have been growing further apart throughout the book, so it's not really much of a surprise when she leaves.
On the upside, there is a growing affection between Adrian and the love of his life Pandora Braithwaite. Pandora has always been driven and is currently a Member of Parliament, friends with Gordon Brown and, in short, everything that Adrian would have liked to have been or at least be with. She has been a character since the first Adrian Mole book, and he has always been devoted to her.
By the end of the book, his cancer has also gone into remission. While the book was never really about the disease, its ongoing presence throughout was a metaphor for the rest of the disasters that were happening around Adrian.
In fact, by the end, almost everything is looking up. Daisy and Gracie have left, but he seems to have come to terms with it. Bernard has stayed and become very much a rock for Adrian and his family. The book ends with another visit from Pandora and Adrian going to meet her.
Best part of story, including ending:
Adrian Mole is very funny. He always has been, through various misadventures and disappointments. this is the final installment of his story, and despite that it could be a complete catastrophe, he goes on and eventually things seem to be working out. This is an excellent way to end the end the Adrian Mole saga.
Best scene in story:
A scene near the end where Bernard buys Adrian a pig and a proper pigsty for it. Bernard says the pigs are “inherently comical” and though Adrian says he's not really very sentimental, he does find the pig quite excellent.
Opinion about the main character:
Adrian is likeable even though he's kind of the epitome of a prig. He's desperate to be of a higher class, a better writer and a better man than he actually is. However, in spite of himself it seems, he also has affection for the people around him, none of whom live up to his expectations. He's spent his life trying and failing, and that seems relatable.