Monday, December 2, 2013
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: HARD LUCK (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8) by Jeff Kinney
When I asked him why he liked the Diary of a Wimpy Kid so much (we now have all 8 books in the series) he replied that they were funny, and that he felt he could read them quickly. As a reluctant reader, this obviously gave him a strong sense of accomplishment.
Holy tour buses, Batman!
On the strength of this showing, I decided to read all 8 of the Wimpy Kid books. I found my son was right: I could read them quickly and yes, they were funny.
Greg Heffley, the eponymous Wimpy Kid, is a pretty flawed character. Throughout the books, he treats his "best friend" Rowley Jefferson abominably. Rowley is pretty much a stooge for whatever scheme Greg is dreaming up. And woe betide Rowley if he doesn't jump to Greg's tune. The major story of book 8 is that Rowley has a girlfriend, and Greg doesn't. All the usual shenanigans Greg has with his family and at school continue--although Greg's older brother Rodrick features less. (I kinda liked the Loded Diper subplots of the first few books.)
The books are written with verve, and the heavily interspersed illustrations are pitch perfect. I think Wimpy Kid was the catalyst for the ever-increasing number of these heavily illustrated middle grade series (my son says I must read Big Nate next.) I had the dubious honor of making the woman who was reading Anna Karenina in the tea shop where I like to hang out look at me disapprovingly several times, as I sniggered at something silly. She probably thought "why is that grown man reading such tripe?!"
Jeff Kinney told my son's class that there will be two more Wimpy Kid books. What with movies and all the tie-ins, I think I can safely say that this series is a classic.