Monday, December 2, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: HARD LUCK (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8) by Jeff Kinney

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Kinney came to town. Fifty fourth and fifth graders from my son's elementary school were invited to meet him at one of our local indie bookstores. My son was thrilled to be one of those chosen.

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.

As we drove past the bookstore in the morning, this is the sight we saw:

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.


  1. Awesome your son got to meet him. My daughter met a few of her favorite authors in grade school too. She used to love this series.

  2. It's so fun to see kids who love certain books meet the author of those books. There's a bit of movie star gloss in the room when that happens.

  3. How cool that your son was among the chosen! (Although I'd have to feel sorry for the kids who weren't chosen to meet Jeff Kinney.)

    I've read the first six books and I remember laugh-out-loud moments in many of them.

  4. I have read several of the Wimpy Kids books and been dragged to the, I believe, three movies. The last one was the best of the big screen offerings. I agree, these books, especially for reluctant readers, bring a deep felt attachment from its readers.Looking forward to the last two and with this current release.

  5. I have to admit I find these books a bit annoying (guess I don't really like Greg's character flaws!), but my reluctant-reader son devours them, so all hail Jeff Kinney!

    For books to snigger at in cafes, I always go back to the Captain Underpants series. Love those.

  6. I've read a few of them, and I agree, they are funny! I should finish the whole series. I love the van, by the way. Very hip!

  7. I love that you picked up this series because your son loved it and the author did such a great job at the indie bookstore. Look at that tour bus! I have read the first book in the series and can easily see why kids pick them up. He really gets their sense of humor.

    Awesome review!

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. Your son must have been thrilled to meet his favorite author. And good for you, taking the time to read the books to see what his delight was all about. When my daughter was little she loved the Junie B. Jones books, and like you, when I took the time to read them I was as hooked as she. Good writing is good writing, no matter the age level targeted.


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