Thursday, November 07, 2013

Behind the 8 Ball! Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney

Mom's always saying that friends will come and go, but family is forever.  Well, if that's true, I could be in for a rough ride.

I mean, I love my family and all, but I'm just not sure we were meant to LIVE together! Right now things are a little dicey.

But at least Greg Heffley can count on his BF Rowley, who has always been there for him, to carry his heavy backpack, copy all his English essays into cursive, and scout out the sidewalk on the way to school for dog poop.

That is, until NOW.

Rowley's been my best friend ever since he moved into my neighborhood, but things have really changed between us recently.

And it's all because of a GIRL.

Believe me, the last person in the world I ever thought would get a girlfriend was Rowley.

Suddenly Rowley has moved up from eating his lunch with the other losers in the hall outside the overcrowded cafeteria to dining with Abigail at the Couples Table. When Greg has him for a sleepover, Rowley spends most of the time giggling on his phone with Abigail. Rowley's got other priorities now, and Abigail makes it clear that Greg is the odd man out.

But Greg decides to be proactive and find a new friend to train for Rowley's job. Unfortunately, the only candidate left in the neighborhood is certified mega-nerd Fregley.  Still, Greg is desperate.

I've noticed that at my school, the most popular guys have a funny sidekick. And girls never go for the funny sidekick, so Fregley wouldn't even be a threat to me.

Today at lunch I went to find Fregley to invite him to sit at our table. He was so far back in the line to get a seat that he was out in the hallway near the boys' bathroom. I asked Fregley if he knew how to do any tricks, and he took off his shirt and put bubble gum in his belly button. and then, no lie, he started chewing it!

Word of Fregley's talent got around, and for the rest of the lunch period, almost every boy in our class was at our table wanting to see what ELSE Fregley could chew.

In fact, it got so crowded there wasn't even a place for ME to sit.

The only place left to sit is Fregley's abandoned piece of hallway floor in front of the boys' bathroom, which is where Greg finds himself relegated to eating his lunch.

But Greg doesn't give up his quest for popularity. When he discovers his big brother Rodrick's long-lost Magic Eight Ball among the dust bunnies under his bed, Greg figures that with that device's advice on his social life, maybe his luck will take a turn for the better, in Jeff Kinney's latest entry in his Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, Book 8 (Amulet Books, 2013).

This eighth book in his best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, published November 5, has already hit the top of the charts--and for good reason. Kinney's simple stick-figure cartoons capture the inner nerd of everyone who has ever made it into or through the middle school years, and, speaking personally, can reduce even, um, mature readers to helpless, snorting giggles. Copyright law frowns on reproducing internal illustrations from books, so just take my advice, get the book, and give your middle-schooler or your own inner dork's belly button some laughs to chew on.

Here's hoping Greg Heffley, like Peter Pan, never grows up.

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