Indulge in a Bit of Wimpy Kid
February 25, 2013
I am an adult. As an adult, I should only be enjoying books written for my age group. Or, if not written for my age group, they should have enough substance and weight to warrant my attention (like Newbery Award Winners). So, how do I justify my love of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney?
O.K., I can’t. I simply love them. They are just so much fun to read, and the main character, Greg, is hilarious. This is a kid that is in no way lacking in self-esteem, and yet he does things that constantly bite him in the backside. The difficult predicaments he gets himself into are hysterical and usually completely self-inflicted. Oh, and his philosophy on life and how things should really work? Well, let’s just say, if we’re honest with ourselves, we often thought the same ridiculous things when we were kids.
In the latest installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Third Wheel, Greg must deal with the annoying intrusion of his slacker uncle staying at the house, and the dilemma of how to get a date to the Valentine’s Dance at school. Unfortunately for Greg, as is common, his plans never seem to go the way that he wants. In the end, he is left with a miserable experience and a bad case of the chicken pox. But his outlook on life remains the same, and you know that it is just a matter of time before he once again is attempting some sort of folly that will turn out just as badly.
My favorite character in these books is Greg’s best friend, Rowley. The first time I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid and saw how Greg used and manipulated his friend, I felt sorry for the seemingly pitiful Rowley. However, there seems to be a strange sort of karma going Rowley’s way. No matter how often he blindly follows Greg’s wacky plans, plans that should leave him the loser, he ends up better off. In the case of The Third Wheel, it appears that Greg has unintentionally led Rowley to a girlfriend. I’ve begun to wonder whether Rowley follows Greg’s schemes because he knows he will get something good out of them in the end.
You can read these books in one sitting. They do not seem to try to provide any serious moral lessons, although you can take some away with you anyway. I guess you could try to analyze them from a sociological prospective. How about a study of the adolescent during the trying years of puberty? Or maybe an examination of the inner turmoil of the aggrieved middle child starved for the attention of his parents?
Who am I kidding? These books are pure entertainment, and there is nothing wrong with that. We sometimes forget that reading doesn’t always have to be a studious exercise. A literary diet can include Shakespeare and Kinney. After all, a balanced meal also includes a little desert along with the healthy main course. As long as the sweets are in moderation, I say indulge.