| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(April 12,2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sue Townsend, my heroine, who wrote under the pseudonym Adrian Mole, has died yesterday at the age of 68.

I have read her entire series of Adrian Mole’s diaries umpteenth times and it came as a rude shock that she died so suddenly. Fate has been cruel to her and she has left us -her avid readers – orphans and I am bereft with grief such a talent should depart from this world so suddenly.

This year also saw Simon Hoggart’s demise, the irrepressible political satirist of The Guardian UK whose columns sold more copies than all the news it could muster. His father too died yesterday, a veritable treasure of a writer whose social conscience touched his fans deeply and who was on par with Charles Kinglsey of Water Babies fame and who exposed the cruelty bestowed on illegitimate orphans during Victorian age not unlike Charles Dickens.

I could never resist buying Ms Townsend’s books and to this day I seek refuge in them which I have read umpteenth times and which grace my toilet book shelf.

There was her impish humour and self-deprecating satire which kept us thrilled to bits and proved we are but un-important and that unless we laughed at our inadequacies we could end up as pretentious as those who take themselves too seriously and feel the world would crumble without their contribution to mankind.

My plebeian taste matches too well with Ms Townsend’s in that I see myself as a force to reckon with whereas I am just a wannabe writer whose writings are never taken seriously.

Ms Townsend wrote about her dysfunctional family and in her role as Adrian Mole brought out the anguish and yearnings of a teenager caught up in the trap his parents set who cared too much of their own sexual shortcomings to pay any attention to their children and their aspirations.

She followed the teenager’s journey through adulthood where he while aspiring to be a great writer was indeed working as an offal chef in an upbeat restaurant and living above it with cans of carrots which served as his writing table. The Diaries of Adrian Mole, Cappuchino Years, Weapons of Mass Destruction and The Queen and I are her masterpieces among her other books which still grace Waterstones and other leading bookshops.

She lived in Leicester, a working class part of Middle England and her incisive and intuitive novels won her fame if not fortune. Ms Townsend took swipe at poshos and took no notice of her own self. She had no qualms about exposing her parents’ inadequacies in bringing up their children according to conservative British tradition.