By Duncan Conner
Hello there! My name is Duncan Connor, and I would like to introduce you to a book series you may or may not have already read: Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Originally written as a web serial on FunBrain, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a series of books written by Jeff Kinney, detailing the life of middle schooler Greg Heffley. Greg goes through best friend drama, unwanted school events, embarrassing family moments, and much more! The series currently has fourteen entries, although a fifteenth book is releasing this October.
What makes Diary of a Wimpy Kid so good? To start with, it is funny. There is an underlying sardonic wit to all of Greg’s actions. See, Greg is not a perfect character. He lies, schemes, treats his best friend like a burden, and believes he is destined for greatness despite doing nothing to achieve it. However, the consequences of Greg’s actions catch up to him often, and he finds himself in a hole he has dug. Greg is still a likeable character, but there is something satisfying about seeing him get in trouble for doing something bad.
If you were to start reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I would personally recommend you start with the titular first book. However, the series has very little extended continuity or development, so any book in it could be a good starting point. Each book is of a time period where Greg is writing in his diary, usually about the length of a school year or summer vacation (although this does vary). This time period will often have some shorter, self contained stories in the first half, with more focus on a larger climax in the second half.
My personal favorite book in Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the sixth, Cabin Fever. In this book, the family is trapped in the house during a blizzard, and have to deal with each other face to face. This might be relatable to some of you, as many of us are in a similar situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cabin Fever deals primarily with the theme of empathy. In the novel, many character actions are driven by the concept of empathy or lack thereof. Greg seeks to exploit his church’s charity system, but ends up accidentally doing a good deed in the process. He also attempts to reveal a “scam” in his school’s fundraising winter event, but it is implied to be for personal reasons, despite him saying it is for the good of the school. Finally, Greg’s younger brother Manny turns off the power for the house because of a petty grudge, displaying a lack of empathy in the process.
I would recommend Diary of a Wimpy Kid to anyone who hasn’t already read it. The books are funny, clever, and can be reread with ease. They do not talk down to their target audience, and are fun for both kids and adults. If you are looking for a fun, easy book to read, try Diary of a Wimpy Kid.