Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Jeff Kinney, July 30—31, 2013
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
Greg Heffley’s journal – not a diary, as he is at pains to insist – is presented by Jeff Kinney as faux-handwritten prose interspersed with cartoons at the rate of around two each page. This makes for a quick and, regrettably, forgettable read.
The concept is good and Kinney’s observational humour is spot-on. He remembers well the intricacies of middle school and pre-adolescent anxiety at school, at home and in the world at large.
The cartoons work very well with the genre. They lend some humour and depth, conveying emotion in quite a simple, funny way.
However poor plotting lets the book down. It lurches from one situation to the next, never dwelling on anything for more than a few moments which means there is no real plot to get hold of and lacks impact. If the plot is simply a year in one boy’s life, it suffers from leaving Greg undeveloped and unaffected by any of the events he experiences.
The other major problem is Greg is quite simply unlikeable. He is a selfish, masochistic bully who picks on his so-called best friend to make himself feel better.
More work needs to be done on characters and plotting for the sequels. Currently a sequence of disjointed stories from the point of view of a brat who garners no sympathy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid leaves no impact on the reader. Kinney could do better – let’s hope next time he will.