Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Movin' On: Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

Tuesday: When I got to school today, Rowley was waiting by my locker, and he had a huge smile on his face. Then I noticed he had a big pimple right in the middle of his forehead. Most people would have stayed home from school if they had a zit like that, but here's what Rowley said--"MY MOM SAYS I'M BECOMING A MAN!"

Later on, I saw Rowley hanging out near the older kids' lockers. So I guess he thinks just because he got a pimple, he's part of their club now or something.

And believe me, I'm not jealous. But this is a kid who still sleeps with a pile of stuffed animals every night, so it doesn't make any sense that he gets his first pimple before I got MINE.

Everybody's favorite middle schooler is moving on, if not necessarily up. Scrutinizing himself in the mirror for non-existent signs of puberty, Greg turns to Mom and Dad for comfort:

But they told me that when they were my age, they were WAY behind their classmates. Then Dad told me not to expect to get a lot of facial hair even when I'm an adult, because he's a grown man and he only shaves once or twice a week.

Well, that was some REALLY bad news. They're always saying you can grow up to be anything you want, but now I realize that that's not true.

Greg sadly marks off jobs he can never measure up to--pirate, lumberjack, magician, criminal--from his future career choices.

And there are other issues. Now that her children are older, she says, Mom decides to take some college courses and lets the men of the house know that they now own some new chores. When that doesn't exactly work out, Mom hires a maid, Isabella, who doesn't work period. But Mom refuses to fire her even when Greg finds her nylon socks in his bed where she has been napping daily.

Algebra is not going too well, either, but Greg hopes the "Lock-In" overnight party at the school will make up for having no best friend and bad math grades. But that night Greg comes to a major realization:

At one point George Fleer started chasing people around with his outie, which was pretty terrifying.

See, this is the kind of thing I can't stand about boys my age. When it comes down to it, they're just a bunch of wild animals.

Greg figures he's stuck in middle-school limbo, but then, just as he's forced to play assistant flower boy at Uncle Gary's fourth wedding, the family matriarch Gammie calls him in for the family rite de passage, "the Talk."

I was a little nervous, but I was also kind of excited. Gammie's been around the block about a million times, and I figured she's got a lot of wisdom stored up. And to be honest with you, these days I could really use some.

Jeff Kinney's fourth installment of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (Amulet Books, 2010) is a bitter-sweet outing. Greg Kinney is just as funny as ever, but he's growing up a bit, too. As Gammie points out, his next few years are going to be good ones to avoid family photos that he'll regret later, but she also makes the case that getting old is no walk in the park either, and Greg figures out that maybe these last years as a kid are not so bad after all. Getting into the weeds of early adolescence just makes this series funnier, with laugh-out-loud situations that are right on target for kids going through their wonder years, and poignantly (and perhaps painfully) familiar for those who have left those years behind.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home