Author: Jeff Kinney
Publisher: Amulet Books
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“If there’s one thing I learned from Rodrick, it’s to set people’s expectations real low so you end up surprising them by practically doing nothing at all.”
― Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
A hilarious story of a presumptuous middle schooler, who has high ambitions but slacks of when it come to implementation that’s a must-read for everyone in need of some humour to lighten up their day.
I happened to come across this book at a bookstore some 3 years back and I have been meaning to read it since then. And finally when I did read it, I chided myself for overlooking it for so long. A pure pleasure to read and the first in the ‘Diary of the Wimpy kid’ series, this book is the diary of 6th Grader Greg Heffley, who makes it clear to its readers that it is NOT a diary but a journal – a journal that he plans to hand out to people once he gets rich and famous because he won’t have time to answer questions about his life then. Because boys don’t keep a diary now, do they? (Wink wink!)
Greg Heffley is a middle schooler who has been subjected to bullying at home by his elder brother and at school by his peers. So at the start of the new year at school, he decides to become someone who cannot be bullied – either a jock/athlete or the class treasurer or the class clown or anyone who is not generally bullied. But he doesn’t want to acquire that the right way. Looking for shortcuts to success, he takes advantage of his best friend’s simplicity, bullies his own younger brother, lies to his parents and teachers and what not. But he does not expect that all his plans would start backfiring causing him more harm than good!
Greg Heffley represents the perfect weakling – a middle in a family of 3 kids and an indolent coward at school with a lack of perseverance. He is not a character most of the readers would like but the author does a great job in subtly putting why he is like that. Being bullied by his elder brother, it is no wonder that Greg tends to bully his friend Rowley and his younger brother Manny. After all, you give what you get. After being outshone all his life, he has this need to prove himself to the world and the way he tries to do that is by resorting to unfair ways. You don’t hate him for that, but rather empathize and pity him. Making you like an unlikeable character is a true feat for any author and Jeff Kinney needs to be praised for that. The author’s writing is colloquial, simple and filled with situational comedies that makes the readers take an instant liking towards him. He wonderfully captures the workings of a child’s mind and the woes of a middle schooler making you reminisce of your time in middle school.
The illustrations in the book are another big surprise. With simple yet definite lines, the author creates a great set of doodles that aptly represent the situations. Filled with jocular incidents like Halloween run, ‘Zoo wee Mama’ cartoons, thank you cards for unwanted Christmas presents, The Cheese Touch etc., you’ll never know how you finished this book so quickly.
Pick this book up if you want to have a good laugh. I would suggest you read it with your kid. I am pretty sure it would be more fun.