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Dear Dumb Diary #1

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

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Read the hilarious, candid, (and sometimes not-so-nice,) diaries of Jamie Kelly, who promises that everything in her diary is true...or at least as true as it needs to be.

School was okay today. Actually, it was better than okay. Angeline got her long, beautiful hair tangled in one of the jillion things she has dangling from her backpack, and the school nurse -- who is now one of my main heroes -- took a pair of scissors and snipped two feet of silky blond hair from the left side of her head, so now Angeline only looks like The Prettiest Girl in the World if you're standing on her right. (Although personally, I think she would look better if I was standing on her neck.)

128 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Jim Benton

218 books560 followers
Benton began his career in a custom design t-shirt shop where he started designing his own characters. At the same time, Jim did illustrations and artwork for magazines and newspapers. People magazine named him "the most visible cartoonist in America" .

Benton also created greeting cards and worked in the magazine and publishing industry. In 1998, his SpyDogs characters became an animated series, The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs, that aired on Fox Kids. Licensing his own creations brought them widespread attention on products, such as It's Happy Bunny, The Misters, Just Jimmy and more.

Benton currently lives in Michigan, where he operates out of his own studio.

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5 stars
8,260 (46%)
4 stars
4,221 (23%)
3 stars
3,451 (19%)
2 stars
1,252 (6%)
1 star
718 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 751 reviews
Profile Image for Darla.
3,355 reviews530 followers
October 9, 2021
Jamie Kelly had me laughing out loud more times than I can count. Such hilarious observations and her artwork is a hoot. Her deathly fear of being nicknamed for life (consider the example of what happened to Butt Buttlington) is a running theme. Also her complicated relationship with packing a lunch vs. eating the cafeteria lunch leads to some hilarious situations. Not a five-star read as there are a couple of cringe-worthy moments -- perhaps that is just the fact that the book was written early in this century. This is a great pick for kids who enjoy lots of illustrations and prefer a diary format. Will be looking up Book #2 to see what happens next for Jamie and the other characters. Will she ever get the attention of the hunky Hudson? What will Angelina do next? Will Isabella's chapped lip problem return? And more. . .
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,093 reviews6,576 followers
May 25, 2020

I reread this book for my rereading childhood favourites video!

representation: yeeeahhhhh, none from what I read.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


DNF on page 26 of my reread. As much as this book series influenced me so much as a kid in terms of keeping my own diaries and reading more books, it just doesn't hold up today. It has some of the worst fat-shaming I've seen in a middle grade and I'm v sad about it. Defs won't be passing this one on to my children, that's for sure lol.

trigger warnings: TERRIBLE fat shaming, slut shaming, potentially racist content?
Profile Image for Stephanie Middleton.
136 reviews9 followers
January 21, 2009
Hahahaha! This was hilarious and a quick read. I'm a huge fan of the Georgia Nicholson diaries for teens and this series reminds me a bit of them, although aimed at the younger set. It's basically about middle schooler Jamie Kelly, who vents to her "dumb diary" about school, boys, her dog, her family, and most of all, her arch-nemesis, the perfect Angeline. Supplementing each diary entry are these humorous illustrations (drawn by our heroine) that had me laughing out loud.

As a kiddo librarian, I would probably caution against recommending these to kids who have very cautious or overprotective parents, simply because words like "dumb" and illustrations depicting the blubbery jowl fat of her obese lunch lady probably won't go over very well in those particular households. But those who grew up on and have outgrown smart-mouthed characters like Junie B. Jones will feel right at home with this series.

One of my favorite lines: "He's like a doughnut that secretes its own glaze." ~Jamie Kelly, in reference to her sticky baby cousin Eddy
Profile Image for Olivia Cooper.
14 reviews
August 7, 2012
I decided to read this book because it fits into one of the categorys on the bingo board. This book fits into the category: Your own choice. This category is interesting because you get to read watever book you want to so there is a better chance you will enjoy it. My favourite quote from the book is: “This means that I don't have to run faster than the psychotic-maniac-vampire-cannibal, I just have to run faster than whoever is with me when the psychotic-maniac-vampire-cannibal starts chasing us.” What i learned from this book was that people arent always what you think of them. An interesting character in this book was Isabella because she is Jamie Kellys best friend but she seems that she is hidding a lot from her and is not telling people about some of her situations.
413 reviews
May 27, 2015
My third-grader had belly-laughs as she read this book. It's not one that I would have selected for her, but we all have our guilty-pleasure reads.

Lines I liked:
"By the way, you know how the name for Angeline's hair color is 'Gloriously Heavenly Sunshine'? The people at the dye company named the one that matches mine 'Groundhog'" (22).

"I was so glad that my hair was back the way that nature had inflicted" (23).

"Mr. Evans said that I pretty much need an A on my mythology report or my grades would be with the mermaids. 'You know,' he said, 'Below C level.'" (27).

"Stinker ate my mythology report. [...] Here's how I know he was doing it to get back at me: He only ate the words. He left the paper margins in his bowl like pizza crusts (66).

1 review1 follower
May 5, 2015
This book is about a girl named Jamie who has an enemy.The enemys name is Angeline.Angline was mean to Jamie.For example Angeline started to throw meat loaf in the cafeteria.But Jamie got in trouble for it.While Jamie was getting in trouble Angeline was wiping her hands off from the meat loaf.But is it true that Angeline is really that mean. I recommend this book because you can make connections to the book if you have an enemy of your own.Also it is very funny and very dumb.
Profile Image for Criss.
133 reviews20 followers
July 8, 2013
I picked this up mostly for "research," because I'm working on a diary-format novel with a character who starts out in middle school/junior high. I was disappointed by the slut-shaming and fatphobia in this book, and by the MC's stereotypical girl-hate. There really is no plot, other than "I'm jealous of Angeline and I hate her but I love her" and suddenly in the last few pages half a bazillion things happen, plot twist! after plot twist! after PLOT TWIST!!

The MC's voice is funny (though her personality/viewpoints are irritating). Another thing that bugged me as I was reading was I felt she seemed too "old" for a middle school student. It doesn't say how old Jamie is (that I remember?) but there are some things that indicate she's in the lower middle school grades (6th), but some of her banter, turns of phrase, expressions, and thought processes seem to be more high school aged. There's nothing "inappropriate," it just seems more "advanced"/"experienced" than a girl who would put warnings on the front page of her diary with drawings of severed heads thinking that's actually going to detract people from reading.

My main objection is the actual content, though: the cafeteria lady is gross because she's fat, the most horrible thing imaginable is for Isabella to wear her grandmother's "horse-butt-sized" pants, pretty girls are man-stealing b!tches and the most important things in life are boys and being pretty and having pretty hair. Is this really the best we can do for our female readers?
Profile Image for Rachel Q.
2 reviews
January 8, 2010

This book is pretty nice for me because Jamie seems to be a crazy girl.. this book also makes you laugh.. ! :D


Jamie Kelly is a girl that has a diary.. and she writes crazy stuff about people and makes some drawings (not really just the author LOL!)Jamie's qualities are clever.. Jamie's hair dye name is "Groundhog".
Her eye color is green and her crush is called Hudson Rivers. Her bff is called Isabella. Angeline is a clever girl too..she has a nice hair. Her hair's name is "Golden Heavenly Sunshine". Jamie is obviously jelous about that..The conflict is ANGELINE .. she doesnt let JAMIE get into Hudson !!!... JAmie REAALLYYYY likes HUdson but, Angelines beauty is too much!

Profile Image for lagan.
25 reviews
February 18, 2017
it's like a grown man who never went to public school wrote a book from the point of view of a middle school girl. oh wait. that's what it is. i recommend reading it out loud on the floor of the children's section of barnes and noble to your friends, like i did.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
1 review
April 15, 2013
I loved this book because it is funny and silly,and because its like a girls diary
Profile Image for max theodore.
443 reviews120 followers
April 3, 2020
you know looking back on these books from my current homosexual viewpoint. i think the girl rivalry here was definitely like. at least a little gay
Profile Image for Nikita.
81 reviews
March 18, 2021
iconic. this series changed society. it was a formative player in my childhood. jamie is my hero.
67 reviews
December 18, 2015
Jamie Kelly is in eighth grade and keeps a diary about her life. She writes about a popular girl, her dog, her best friend, her mom's cooking, and her messy messy cousin. As she writes, you can see that her life isn't fun and games.
Dear Dumb Dairy is a funny book because of the way Jamie writes and thinks. Its also has funny pictures that show what she talks about, which is kinda funny. And don't worry about school, try to enjoy the book.
I like this book because of its funniness and weirdness . My favourite part is when she writes about that popular girl's hair being cut off. There is nothing I don't like about this book. Enjoy "Dear Dumb Dairy"!
Profile Image for Kally.
149 reviews
April 20, 2017
Антон (9г.): Книгата беше много смешна. Имаше кражби на... коса!
Имаше едно момиче, което харесваше едно момче и правеше най-смешната физиономия, която съм виждал - имаше картинка в книгата. В цялата книга имаше много картинки.
В книгата се разказва за едно много шантаво момиче, което си пише дневник. Там тя описва живота си.
Profile Image for Terri .
248 reviews24 followers
August 15, 2015
I basically just read this for nostalgic purposes. I remember absolutely loving this when I was in Primary School, and while I din't find it as amazing as I did when I was younger, I really enjoyed it. I'd definitely recommend this for younger audiences, like maybe 8-12 year old girls.
Profile Image for Naailah.
310 reviews40 followers
September 2, 2015
I remember reading these in elementary school, so when I found them at the library, I had to reread them. Let me just say, this humour is so dry
Profile Image for Jason.
3,789 reviews24 followers
April 30, 2015
Much funnier than I expected. Why weren't these as big as Wimpy Kid?
Profile Image for Vitória.
3 reviews
June 1, 2021
Esse livro (assim como os demais da série) formou meu caráter, e me fez ser quem sou hoje. Obrigada por tudo, Jamie Kelly.
4 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2018
This book is about a girl named Jamie and she is friends with another girl named Isabella.Isabella is always get in trouble but Jamie is always going off in to her own world. she is always taking the the blame for other people’s mistakes including Isabella’s. The main thing that this book was about is Jamie wants to steal her cousin’s permanent record Angeline but when she finally remembers to take the record!😀😀. But two days later when her cousin arrived she lost it!!! The next day she was making her lunch and there was only one spoon of strawberry jelly left in the jar and her cousin was highly allergic to strawberries and Jamie look in the fridge to look for juice and when she looked back the strawberry jelly on her sandwich Was gone (she thought that her dog stinker did it).but when she got to school they where about to give her cousin back to her aut and then he ran inside the school and then Jamie started to case after him then hen he finally got in to her class Angeline helped her on her Paper becuse her dog ate her homework and then she found Angeline’s permanent record in his avengers backpack she returned it to the pricapols office.this was a really funny book i really liked it

By Aurora age8
Profile Image for Zyl.
23 reviews13 followers
January 11, 2012
This book starts the entire "Dear Dumb Diary" children's series. This book introduces the main character, a very spunky and opinionated girl, and her friends and family, who appear in the series multiple times as well. The stories have barely any plot, and probably really has no value in society, but considering it's written for children, then it's passable with two stars. I read this series when I was younger and the experience still feels fresh. I remember enjoying it a lot because the author used simple words and laughable phrases. However, it was the illustrations that really caught my eye. The "doodles," as I call them even still, made my reading experience enjoyable. It felt like I really was reading a girl's diary, albeit one with illustrations perfectly childish and a story if you squint real hard. I also loved the introductions, and those first few pages probably were my favorite parts.
Profile Image for Troy Martin.
44 reviews
July 24, 2017
I recently read this to my friend's oldest daughter. This is a negative, and sometimes mean-spirited diary of a young girl.

The protagonist makes fun of Isabella's grandma saying she has a "horse-like butt". She also makes fun of a lunch lady saying she resembles meatloaf and a kid touched her neck flub and was grossed out. She also mentions popularity scales and loser scales. Weight / Age shaming only tells kids who are reading that bullying is okay.

She refers to starving kids in "Wheretheheckistan" (which is disrespectful) a few times.

She mentions wanting to poison people, and her happiness over a girl's misfortune of having the side of her hair cut off by the school nurse (which the protagonist later steals, along with the girl's permanent file).

She refers to people as idiots, buffoons, goons, and half-wits.

My friend's daughter said in the middle of me reading, "You know, I don't like her! She's so mean and cranky all the time!".
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
135 reviews3 followers
March 27, 2013
This is the first book in the popular series for girls, Dear Dumb Diary. The main character, Jamie Kelly, wants to be part of the popular group. She will do just about anthing to achieve that goal - including stealing the permanent file of the most popular girl in school, Angeline, to try and find some dirt about her. The writing is very funny, and just a little sassy. There is just enough gross humor (ex. the page 65 drawings of her beagle Stinker and his fascination with his butt) to possibly entice boys to read the series. The drawings nicely complement the text. The eye-catching titles help sell the series.

I would recommend this book to middle school girls who are looking for a funny, fast read as well to readers who enjoy reading books in a diary format. The author, Jim Benton, also is the writer of the Franny K Stein series and Happy Bunny.
20 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2016
This bok was terrific because it was so interesting and it also painted a picture in my mind!!!!!!This book would always keep me guessing!!!
Profile Image for Andy John.
210 reviews17 followers
August 20, 2017
I když je to pro mladší čtenáře, můžu říct je to chytlavé, vtipné a čtivé. Opravdu jsem se pobavila.
Profile Image for A.
298 reviews20 followers
August 16, 2019
Literally the gayest thing ever written. Maurice - sobbing. Giovanni's Room - having a seizure. The Color Purple - found dead in Miami
Profile Image for Amber.
111 reviews
December 15, 2018
The Dear Dumb Diary series is written by Jim Benton, the creator of the infamous unofficial mascot of the early 2000's to preteen girls with an attitude everywhere, Happy Bunny. That's where you know you're already off to a good start. Herein lies the adventures and mishaps of Jamie Kelly, a disgruntled middle schooler inhabiting a world of semi-realism and semi-nightmarish fantasy whose detailed descriptions and illustrations may or may not be exaggerated.

In this first installation Jamie has developed a jealous homoerotic obsession with one of the girls in her class, Angeline. Jamie is constantly comparing herself to Angeline, copying Angeline, insulting Angeline, drawing caricatures of Angeline in various humiliating circumstances, scheming of how to get Angeline in trouble, being twisted over how simultaneously heavenly and devilish one person can be, while Angeline barely knows who Jamie is. Even as a kid, I knew something was strangely neurotic about Jamie's obsession and wasn't your usual case of popular kid envy. Just another way this series is different from most.

Revisiting this book was essential to me because I distinctly remember the part where For some reason, the reason most likely being a steadily increasing laziness in my general reading habits, I think I only read books 1 and 2.

The best thing about this book is Jamie herself: She's a relentless smartass, and she has an attitude. Of course her diary is going to be great. Jamie's voice is also believable. The part about Jamie ranking all the cutest boys in her class in numerical order and making it look like she just happened to be passing by the house of the Eighth Cutest made me wonder if Jim Benton was a middle school girl in a past life.

Probably the only con I can think of is the Ye Olde Problematique Body-Shaming that is so prevalent in books aimed at young girls. A kid making funny drawings of her teachers' less attractive physical attributes isn't exactly heinous (I myself once detested the malevolent misshapen-ness of the bald head belonging to a teacher I greatly disliked), but there is a bad bikini body joke that wouldn't stand out if you weren't aware that elementary schoolers are being diagnosed with eating disorders and cutting themselves.
Profile Image for love maze⁷❁་༘࿔.
192 reviews1 follower
January 13, 2023
im obviously not the target audience, but at least i thought It'd be a fun read like "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" but it wasn't funny at all... definitely a Dumb Diary!
Profile Image for Ricardo.
196 reviews7 followers
October 26, 2019
Eu geralmente gosto dos cartuns do Jim K. Benton, mas nunca tinha lido a ficção que ele produz. Que choque. Esse livro é horripilante como (des)formador de pré-adolescentes. A protagonista é paranoica, sociopática e detona todos os aspectos de sua vida indiscutivelmente confortável, com a desculpa de estar reclamando da vida em seu diário íntimo. Faz piadas ácidas com sua família, seus colegas, seu cão de estimação, a alergia alimentar do primo pequeno... e tem como única meta estragar a vida da menina popular da escola, de qualquer maneira. A forma como o autor trata tudo isso como piada, espalhando cartuns sarcásticos por todas as páginas, chega a ser constrangedora. A tentativa de suavizar as coisas no final não mostra inequivocamente um arrependimento profundo, ou até, real.

O que mais assusta, porém, é o sucesso editorial estrondoso dessa "passada de pano" em bullying. Isso revela muito acerca do egoísmo da garotada que tem dinheiro para comprar livros. Pedi desculpas à minha filha por ter trazido esse lixo da biblioteca para ela ler. Filhos colecionando os (inúmeros) títulos da série deveria ser um sério alerta para os pais.
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