Delving into Diaries

Dear Diary

There is something utterly satisfying in having the green light to read someone’s diary. Now morality, ideally, should prevent you from sneaking into your sister’s/best friend’s/flatmate’s room and delving into their deepest, darkest secrets but fortunately the world of literature has found an answer to satisfy our nosy urges…fictional diaries!

The legendary author and creator of one of the most famous diary writers in history Sue Townsend sadly passed away yesterday and so in her honour, and the honour of the iconic Adrian Mole, I share with you five of my favourite, most juicy, literary diaries that you do have permission to peruse!


Bridget Jones' DiaryBridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

The world’s most famous thirty-something singleton never fails to entertain through her diarised musings. Guaranteed to make you feel better and vastly more in control of your own life, Bridget is a creation that becomes someone you care about, root for and genuinely laugh with.


The Story of Tracy BeakerThe Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

Writers don’t come much more honest and upfront than Tracy Beaker! A 10 year-old foster kid with lots of gumption and a deep-set vulnerability that both entertains and melts your heart.


The CollectorThe Collector by John Fowles

It’s taking a turn towards the sinister with this next one, as The Collector details a stream of consciousness and obsession from both hunter and his prey. Split between two author voices, you get to see stalking from both sides with this superbly creepy novel.


The Princess DiariesThe Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Awkward Mia Thermopolis’ safe and boring high school world comes crashing down around her when her distant father arrives announcing her royal Genovian heritage. Despite the uber girly cover and ‘princessyness’ of it all, a non-girly girl like me found Cabot’s book series to be actually quite brilliant and you can’t help but really love Mia!


Flowers for Algernon Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

If ever there was a story that detailed the development of the human mind better, I’d like to read it! A sci-fi novel that maps, through diary entries, the effect of imprinting artificial genius onto the simple mind of Charlie Gordon and witness the rise and fall of science’s ‘success’. Heartbreakingly brilliant.


A diary can be an exceptionally effective method of seeing into the mind of a person, fictional or not, and there are so many amazing stories told in this way. Some tell a story too real to be fictionalised (The Diary of A Young Girl), others are a hilarious insights to forgotten teenage years (My Mad Fat Diary) or fictional school life (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). This mode of writing isn’t for everyone – I find writing diaries really difficult by keeping one very easy! However I really do love satisfying my inner curtain-twitcher and reading them in books, they’ve led me to some of my favourite characters.

So thank you Sue Townsend for your amazing diaries. No-one got into the mind of a teenage boy quite like you.

Adrian Mole


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