Monday, March 9, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to read this book! My daughters both love it, and it is enormously appealing to kids - so much so that it is rarely on the shelf at my library for long before it gets picked up again. So when the third one came out, and both my children asked for the first two so they could reread them in anticipation of the third, I thought I'd better get on board. Greg Heffley (aka the Wimpy Kid) pulled me into the story immediately, with his goofy, expressive drawings and his tactless honesty.

The book is a simple narration of the events from Greg's daily life, rendered hilarious by the fact that he has no idea how very funny these events are to someone who is not actually experiencing them. He tells about his odious older brother, Roderick, who plays nasty tricks on him, such as the time he wakes Greg up in the middle of night right at the beginning of summer vacation, telling him he's slept all the way through summer, and it is now the first day of school. Greg believes him, because Roderick is wearing school clothes, and the curtains are closed so he can't see it's still dark out. It's not till he's making noise eating Cheerios at 3 am and gets yelled at by his father that he realizes he's been tricked. When he accuses his brother, his father finds Roderick fast asleep in bread. "And to this day," concludes Greg, "I'm sure Dad thinks I've got a screw loose or something."

And that's pretty much how things go for Greg. His little brother can do no wrong and gets all kinds of attention, and his older brother never gets caught for picking on him. School isn't too great, either, particularly as Greg is more interested in schemes that involve his popularity than in actually paying attention to what's going on in class. He's a smart kid in many ways, but is clearly not interested in academics. The way he tells things is so funny - bad things happen that are usually his own fault, but he of course doesn't see it that way - nor does he necessarily learn from his mistakes.

I think we can all relate to that side of Greg - it's that small-minded part of us that occasionally rears its ugly head, but that, on our good days, we manage to quash and move on to more positive things. Plus it's fun to see that, no matter how badly our day is going, at least we have not been afflicted with the cheese touch (or a big brother like Roderick). And maybe if even a wimpy kid like Greg can make it through, we can, too.

Books in the Wimpy Kid series:
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
2. Rodrick Rules
3. The Last Straw

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
Bookworm's Required Reading: "The older crowd will relate easily to the problems that Greg faces on a daily basis, and the younger generation will only be asking for more Greg Heffley."
What Adrienne Thinks about That: "...I realized what it is that makes me enjoy these books so much: no matter how socially inept I can be from time-to-time, I am not nearly as inept as Greg Heffley."

12 comments:

  1. "His little brother can do no wrong and gets all kinds of attention, and his older brother never gets caught for picking on him."
    ... that sounds all kinds of familiar to me. except in my case, it was also the little brother who never got caught picking on me!

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  2. This is a fantastic series! My kids have devoured it. I absolutely love the journal in this series. It's a wonderful introduction to keeping some sort of written record for kids, but it combines the whole comic book feel. Words and photos to acknowledge the quirky, the sad and the fun.

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  3. Hi Jill,
    Ben LOVES this series - there was a two page article on the author in the Post last week.

    Tanya

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  4. Molly - and you never picked on him? :-p I used to get back at my big brother by pretending that he kicked me when we were having dinner. "Ow! That hurt!" What an actress I was, teehee.

    Fuzzycricket - Do you mean the make-your-own journal one? That is fantastic. I bought them for my kids from the school book fair, and they have had a lot of fun with them. I should review that at some point, and maybe scan in some of their pages!

    Tanya - I'm glad Ben is enjoying it. Does he have the one you write in? If not, I bet he'd love it.

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  5. I haven't read these yet either but I've been tempted many times!

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  6. Ladytink - I hope you'll give them a try some time!

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  7. This was so funny, I loved it!
    Gotta read the second one soon!

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  8. Me, too, Valentina! Once I can pry it out of my girls' hands, that is. :-)

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  9. Awesome book. Realy funny, and can't wait to read all of them.

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  10. Jack - it is a funny book, isn't it?! I started #2, and it is just as funny so far!

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  11. I don't know why I haven't read these myself. My daughter has read all three and loved them. She'd be sitting on the couch reading and bust out laughing. Or she's run to wherever I was at the time to read a passage to me. I think I'll have to borrow her copies.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  12. Anna - I think you'll be glad you did. I brought the second one home from the library to read, and each of my girls has taken it to reread, laughing all the while, and I haven't had a chance to read it yet! There is something about that series that has such appeal to so many different readers. I like that in a book!

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