Zoe's Reviews > Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

liked it

This is one of those books that just "works" even though it's also really obvious seeming. You wonder why nobody thought to make a book just like this one before, and that's the beauty of it. It's sort of like the Plato's Ideal of Middle-School-Boy's-Diary: goofy, mildly irreverent, disgusting. Oh, and there's a piquant dash of 'knowing-wink' thrown in to level out all the cartoony cuteness.

The tone of the book reminds me of a pre-pubescent, super-super-super-super-super-watered down version of Catcher in the Rye. Well, it begins similarly, anyway: "First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary...So just don't expect me to be all 'Dear Diary' this and 'Dear Diary' that." Holden offers a similar caveat about not wanting to go into all the "David Copperfield kind of crap." Do authors feel like boy-protagonists need to initially resist the diary-template in order to establish to the reader that the character is, in fact, self-conscious about the emasculating dangers of self-reflection? What's so girly about self-reflection, anyway?

Greg's diary is also in the same vein as Bridget Jone's diary. They both share the "lovable loser" trope, bringing to mind the truism, "You can't spell 'sympathetic' without 'pathetic.'" Probably 99% of the population feels/felt like a wimpy kid in school, so it's impossible not to relate to Greg in one way or another.

So basically, I guess I"m just saying: I can appreciate the appeal this book has for the third graders I work with. It's no different than a Sunday comic strip, except with a few paragraphs sprinkled about in HUGE FONT to give the illusion of a novel. That way, kids get away with doing the minimum amount of reading, while still retaining that satisfying "I just read a whole book, cover to cover!" feeling.

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