Confession: I often borrow books from kids.
Hey, in my own defense, I read plenty of heavier books. But I like the occasional hit of children’s lit for three reasons:
1. It’s clean and it’s innocent. The lack of disturbing themes is refreshing from time to time.
2. It gives me something to talk about with the kids in my life. I love kids but don’t have any of my own, so I enjoy being able to talk books with my youngest friends. Plus, I find that it encourages reading.
3. It’s unabashedly fun. Admit it.
But even then, I still had my doubts about Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Since it’s illustrated, even I thought that it was kind of a cop-out. But eleven-year-old JN (names concealed to protect the innocent) gave it to me with such excited anticipation that I just had to pick it up. I knew he’d want to discuss it with me when I gave it back (I try to keep kids’ books for no more than a week).
I was surprised to find that it’s a great book that deals with important themes such as friendship and family in the craptastic time of life that they call “middle school.”
The main character is a boy named Greg who has just started a journal (not a diary – Greg is very clear about that from the get-go). He uses his journal to record the events of his life and he provides some hilarious illustrations along the way.
Greg writes like a real middle-schooler, and he speaks as honestly as a middle-schooler can about the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of middle school life.
The author, Jeff Kinney, gives Greg a surprisingly authentic voice. Many of the things that Greg does in the book sparked memories of my own craptastic middle school existence: he’s not popular, but he wants to be; he’s willing to sacrifice his friendships with nerds in order to be more cool; he’s selfish and this sometimes hurts his friends; things never seem to go his way.
I really enjoyed the book – partially because it was a good one, and partially because it reminded me of how glad I am that I am no longer in middle school.
I am so glad that those days are behind me.
Jeff Kinney, if you had gone to Hughes Middle School in Long Beach, CA, I’m sure that we would have been friends.
But I probably would still have ditched you in a second if I thought that it would make Jesse Wilder notice me.
Just keepin’ it real.
Hey, Nicole, if this would actually count as a graphic novel, please let me know and I’ll remove it from my Cannonball count. But either way, I’m glad I read it.