Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Strangers in Paradise: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway by Jeff Kinney

We were just having a normal December, and I was really looking forward to Christmas. But Mom and Dad were getting all stressed out. Nothing was going the way it was supposed to. I'm sure we could have gotten our act together in time for Christmas. But one night an ad came on TV. The commercial was for this place where Mom and Dad went for their honeymoon.

The reason I know is because every time an ad for that place comes on TV, the two of them get all kissy-faced.

The night after that ad came on, Mom and Dad announced that THIS year, we were gonna SKIP Christmas and all go to Isla de Corales instead.

It was to be the Great Holiday Getaway, but for the Heffleys' ventures, Murphy's Law is way ahead of even the law of gravity.

It's way below freezing when they leave home, with Rodrick dressed for the tropics, so Greg gets to schlepp the bags from the economy lot, finishing last in the run for the gate, where they find the dreaded traveller's notice:


After all the indignities of a delayed pre-holiday flight (including Greg having to charge his phone in the only unused socket--in the entry to the women's bathroom), they arrive at their vacation paradise with someone else's luggage. Ever-positive, Mom declares that they'll just wash they are wearing every night. But Greg has a close encounter of the arachnid kind: he says something no tourist ever wants to have to to say... There's a giant spider on the underside of the toilet seat!

So the marbled bathroom is pretty much unavailable to him for any purpose... and so are most of the all-inclusive fine-dining spaces, since their traveling clothes don't pass the dress code, especially Rodrick's bare chest and shorts. Their diet is limited to beating the birds, bugs, and slugs to their burgers and turista-safe sodas in the outdoor "family dining" area.

Greg has iguana encounters, Dad comes down with Montezuma's Revenge, Rodrick, having found a girl to smooch with in the Teen Zone pool, gets a second-degree sunburn, and Manny, mostly corralled in the "Pirate's Playhouse" toddler zone, nevertheless manages to capture a deadly box jellyfish in his little sand pail and clear the pool in an instant. Their inflatable banana boat trip is a bust (literally), but Greg does make the best of an aborted snorkel cruise to swim with the dolphins, the top item on his bucket list.

And through it all, Mom relentlessly pursues the only thing that will make all of this worthwhile, a photo of a fun-in-the-sun family vacation for next year's Christmas card. (See Exhibit A below)

You'd think that after their last family vacation, hilariously chronicled in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, Greg's family would not have fallen for the siren song of a tropical paradise vacation, but author-cartoonist Jeff Kinney's latest in his top-selling series, Getaway (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 12) (Amulet Books, 2017), is another winner for the Wimpy Kid, slayer of the best-selling list, a gentle, laugh-out-loud trip through the foibles of family life, in which author-artist Kinney is the phenomenally funny master of mirth for anyone of almost any age.

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