Thursday, April 16, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Plot Summary: Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they? It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship.

This book was originally rejected by nearly the entire publishing world. Jeff Kinney tried and tried to get a publishing house to pick it up, but no one was willing to take a chance on him. So he made it available for free as a web-comic on his website. It grew in popularity so much that the publishing world took notice, then offered him a contract.

I just love the history of this book.

I’d been meaning to read this book for forever. I finally did, and finished it in an afternoon. I absolutely loved the format, the whole diary (sorry, journal) feeling, and loved the accompanying pictures. It’s hard for me to imagine a house not wanting to pick this up.

The story itself is a great example of how difficult middle school is – that stage between cooties in elementary school and the coolness of high school, how selfish and clueless kids can be, and that it’s what everyone goes through.

The only thing I didn’t care for was the story’s arc, or shape. It was pretty consistent throughout, and I would have preferred more ups and downs. But I think that’s just personal taste, because Kinney’s story fits well with his format and main character. I can see kids loving this book, and I’ve already got my copy set aside for my boys when they reach middle school age. Definitely recommended.

15 comments:

Mary Witzl said...

I love the history of this book too, partly because I like writing stories about and for boy wimps. The only boys I ever got along with in school were the type to keep journals. They are also the boys most likely to read this sort of book and how heartening that there IS a market for this!

I LOVE the fact that this book made it through public appeal!

Kimberly Derting said...

My 8 year old daughter brought this home from the book fair at school and we started reading it one night at the dinner table. We were ALL cracking up. It's hilarious! Now my daughter has three of the books, and even though I haven't read them, she sits on the couch giggling to herself.

beth said...

Eep! Haven't had a chance to read this one, either!

PJ Hoover said...

Wow! What a story. Talk about inspiration! My son loves these books!

Stacy Nyikos said...

I love the story of this book. It's so cool when books have a saga to go with the saga they're telling.

Tabitha said...

Mary - same here! This book is such a hit, yet no one was willing to take a chance on him. I'm very glad it all worked out. :)

Kim - I can't wait until my boys are old enough to read these. They'll love them! :)

Beth - definitely read them. They're a quick, funny read, and you'll love it!

PJ - isn't it inspiring? Makes me want to keep typing away at my own stories. :)

Stacy - definitely! Though I hope my own books don't quite have this colorful of a history. For my own sanity. :)

Bish Denham said...

The story of how this book was published gives hope to all of us.

Kelly H-Y said...

Wow, what an inspiring story behind this book. I've been interested in this book too ... but have yet to read it. Thanks for reviewing it and reminding me of it ... it sounds like a great one!

Tabitha said...

Bish - yes it does! And I love it for that reason. :)

Kelly - you'll enjoy it. I absolutely loved the format. This book is a classic example of why paper books will never die. It just wouldn't translate well to an e-reader. :)

C.R. Evers said...

I had no idea what the history of this book was. Thanks for sharing it! I"m always inspired by stories like that! I haven't read the book yet, but I think I'll have to move it up higher on my list now!

Thanks!

Kelly said...

I did not realize this book was rejected like that at first! My oldest LOVES this series. It is funny!

C. Matthews said...

When I bought these books for our 10 yr old daughter, I flipped few a few pages to see what all the hype was about. It was hysterical and turned me into an instant fan. In fact, he inspired my Blog Parody 'Blog From a Neurotic Teenage Vampire'. If anyone has a chance, check it out and let me know what you think. It's a little dark, but in a humorous kind of way.
Thanks for the post!!

- -Alex McGrath said...

I'm currently trying to reach his literary agent to pitch a book that would reside on the same literary planet as "Wimpy Kid" so to speak. Fingers crossed...

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