I've been wanting to read this for a very long time. It's a simple, straightforward title, with a simple, straightforward plot. The cartoons make it a very quick, easy read; I finished it in half an hour.
Greg Heffley is the wimpy kid in question, a middle school student who thinks he ranks #52 in popularity among his classmates. By comparison, he thinks his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, ranks #150. Rowley is very young and immature for his age, and often doesn't "get" many of Greg's jokes--especially when he's the butt of the joke.
Greg lives with parents who could be described as "clueless", at least from his point of view. Dad wants his son to be a man, to bulk up his muscles, and to play outside, as opposed to playing video games all day long. Mom wants her son to be well-rounded and makes him try out for the school play, much to Dad's chagrin.
Additionally, Greg is the middle son. He has to contend with an older brother, Rodrick, a high schooler who fronts a heavy metal band called "Loded Diper." (There is supposed to be an umlaut over the "o"--that's the two little dots that go over a vowel--but I don't know how to type these symbols in Blogger.) He even drives an old van that has "Loded Diper" painted on the side. Greg is embarrassed not only for Rodrick's "awful sounding" band, but more for the fact that their band name is spelled incorrectly.
Greg's little brother, Manny, can do no wrong in his parents' eyes. Greg is responsible for preparing Manny's breakfast every morning. He pours a bowl of cereal for Manny, and then Manny sits in the living room--atop his training potty. Well, imagine what he does with the leftover cereal when he's done. I'll leave it at that.
Much of the novel consists of Greg hanging out with Rowley and the various scrapes that they get into. Many of their schemes involve doing things that could increase their popularity; Greg thinks of most of them, and Rowley follows without thinking. Usually, things work out well--inadvertently--in Rowley's favor, and don't go so well for Greg.
This is a rather cute book, and I can understand why this would appeal to many young readers. It's got many situations and characters that kids can relate to. It's written very simply and clearly, and the cartoons are adorable.
I think of this book as a modern-day Peanuts, and its protagonist as a more sophisticated Charlie Brown. Greg may constantly luck out in many of his schemes, but he never gives up. I am eager to see what his further adventures are in the rest of the Wimpy Kid series. It looks very promising!
This is the latest entry in my 2009 100+ Reading Challenge, my 2009 1st in a Series Challenge, and my 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge. As always, click on the buttons in the sidebar for all of the archived lists of my reads!