|Paperback: 443 pages|
Genre: Humorous fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books 2007
Source: No idea, but picked from bookshelves for Q in the Title Challenge
First Sentence: Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, stood smoking a cheap cigarette on the back doorstep of Number Sixteen Hell Close.
Review Quote: Wickedly satirical, mad, ferociously farcical, subversive. Great stuff - Daily Mail
My Opinion: Satirical fun
For me the name Sue Townsend will always be synonymous with the Adrian Mole stories, they are what have most helped make her Britain's favourite comic author today. Queen Camilla is just as funny as its predecessor The Queen and I, if you are looking for a satirical and fun read this certainly is one.
It was back in the early nineties that The Queen and I was published and it took thirteen years for Sue Townsend to write and publish this sequel.
All those years ago when a Republican party won the General Election, their first act in power was to strip the royal family of their assets and titles, also banishing them to live on a housing state. Now in the sequel the UK is still a republican state and the Royal Family are living in an exclusion zone, wearing electronic tags that monitor their every move. It is indeed a weird world with Prince William working as a scaffolder, a royal love child and the government passing obscure laws. Two of which are the banishing of the use of step ladders and control of dog ownership. There is unrest in the republic and a slim chance that the royals may be reinstated, but the Queen has threatened to abdicate and Charles will not consider becoming King unless Camilla is at his side as Queen.
The one part I did not enjoy was the way the dogs spoke to each other, although of course the humans did not understand them. This aspect reminded me of The Last Family in England.
The satirical characterisations are much more important than the plot which is just as well as there isn't really one apart from the politicians plans to sort out the mess that the country has become.
It goes without saying then that if you are a fan of Adrian Mole you will enjoy Queen Camilla and its predecessor The Queen and I both of which were republished earlier this year to tie in with the Queens Jubilee.
Susan Lillian Townsend was born April 2nd 1946 in Leicester, where she spent her childhood free time playing in local fields and woods. She only learned to read at the age of eight when, off school with mumps, she was given by her mother a pile of Just William books and taught to read in just three weeks. From that moment she became obsessed with reading. Later, she started to write for the school magazine.
Sue left school at fifteen with no qualifications and found employment in a string of unfulfilling jobs, from petrol-pump attendant to shop assistant. She kept writing, but did so in secret. At eighteen she married and a year later her first child was born. With two more children in her family and a subsequent divorce, she at last found a job she enjoyed – at the youth club on the estate she lives in.
In 1978 Sue met Colin Broadway and after she admitted to him that she had been writing secretly for years he encouraged her to join a writer’s group at Leicester’s Phoenix Arts Centre. After the third meeting, where Sue had shown nothing nor said anything, she was told to share some work with the group next week. Two weeks later she presented Womberang , a play set in a gynaecological waiting room. The play was put on and in 1979 won a Thames Television Playwright Award, including a bursary as Writer in Residence.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Amazon Author Page - Sue Townsend Goodreads Author Profile Authors Official Website
I have chosen to read this title as the letter Q for The A - Z Book Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here.