Book Review – Number Ten by Sue Townsend

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After the mammoth amount of time it took me to read my last book (JK Rowlings A Casual Vacancy – https://writingbeckles.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/the-casual-vacancy-by-jk-rowling-a-quick-review/) this one was a refreshing change!

Here is a description from the back of this book:

Edward Clare, PM of England, doesn’t know the price of a liter of milk. Worse, he’s admitted it on national television. The public that ushered him to a landslide election has turned against him.

Edward decides the only way to get closer to the men and women on the street is to travel the country dressed in drag. Leaving his high-powered, ambitious wife to attend to things in his absence, he sets out.

In this comic romp Sue Townsend sends up, roasts, hoists and generally petards the once and future prime ministers as only she can.

 

I’ve been waiting for the first Adrian Mole book to turn up at Oxfam for months because I’ve heard such good reviews of it. Unfortunately it still hasn’t appeared but this one popped up a few months ago and I immediately put it in my “to buy at the end of the month” pile. I’d actually never heard of this book before but the blurb caught my attention straight away. 

I admit I was apprehensive because I’ve never read a book similar to this before but after the first few pages my worries floated away. The prime minister (Edward Clare) was obviously based on Tony Blair but as a character he was quite likeable (unlike Tony Blair..). The trip into reality starts with him being asked when the last time he travelled on a train was and him being ridiculed because photos of him on a wooden choo choo train are passed around the commons (Osborne class anyone?). He then spends a week travelling around Britain dressed as a woman and trying to learn more about what it’s like to be an average person. Queue hilarious situations as well as serious issues being raised about families living in poverty, crack addiction, the state of the NHS and the closure of nursing homes. While he was on this journey his self obsessed wife had a bit of a breakdown and basically made a fool of herself in front of the press. 

All in all this book was a great read but I was disappointed with the ending as I felt it finished quite abruptly and the loose ends weren’t really tied up. I’ve already found another Townsend book in Oxfam (The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year) and I’ll definitely be looking out for others.

 

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