Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal" by Jeff Kinney

Yes, this is a kid's book. I finally got the chance to snag this and take it home, interested in mining the depths of the thing for what made it so damn irresistible to the youngsters coming in here to the library. Seriously - we cannot keep this series on the shelf. All the kids want one of the "Wimpy Kid" books (there are 3 in the series thus far, with a fourth to be released this fall), and we've been placing reserves on them almost as often as we have the "Twilight" books. I wanted to know what the fascination was, and I wanted to know if I should be recommending them to the kids that hadn't seemed to fall under their spell yet, too.

For an adult, this isn't a bad little book. Funny at times, with cute stick-figure-type illustrations, and Greg's deadpan smart-ass remarks made it an easy hour or two read. Did I see what the kids love? Not really, not for myself. However, I think I see why the kids like it. Greg is a nerd, and he's just entered middle school. He thinks that school should be set up by size, rather than by age, because there are some kids in his school that are way bigger than him. And those kids like to taunt and torment him and his best friend Rowley. Not to mention he's not entirely sure he should be friends with Rowley anymore - the goof might be holding him back. But he needs Rowley when he's grounded from playing video games at his own house, so he'll keep hanging out with him.

Greg has two brothers, Roderick, who's older, and the baby brother, who Greg tries to pull Roderick's stunts on. His mom and dad seem pretty oblivious to a lot of the boys activities, unless they do something right under Dad's nose. There's a very cute illustration of when it's OK to screw up and when it's not - the one showing Dad is the "not" moment. The book pretty much follows Greg during his first year of middle school, with the usual youth angst.

Overall, the story was OK. Again, I wasn't overwhelmed by it, but I can see why the kids like it. Greg is searching for his place in middle school, trying to figure out who he should be. He's questioning his friends, his parents, pretty much everything. And I guess the kids might also enjoy the fact that Greg isn't very sympathetic; I found it a turn-off. He ignores the wishes and feelings of his family and friends, which is weird. Oh well, maybe it's just me.

I've got my reserve in for the second book, wondering if it's better and if I'll fall in love with the Wimpy Kid like my small patrons. I doubt it, but then again, first dates don't always show someone in the best light, do they?


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