Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Greg Heffley is your average kid. He goes to middle school, hangs out with his best friend, Rowley, and tries not to get into trouble. But trouble seems to find Greg, and he has a big, embarrassing secret from the summer he’s terrified will get out.
Unfortunately for Greg, his older brother Rodrick knows about this big, embarrassing secret. Greg has to stay on Rodrick’s good side in order to keep his secret safe — easier said than done. Rodrick doesn’t make life easy for Greg, who has to figure out how to survive adolescence (and being big brother to 3-year-old Manny) on his own.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is Greg’s diary from his year in the seventh grade. We read Greg’s story in his own words and learn how life treats a preteen and how a preteen treats life. There are incidents I could relate to despite being across the world from its setting and three times Greg’s age. Rowley’s return from a vacation in Australia – complete with the Australian accent – reminded me of when a classmate visited the U.S. for a few weeks and returned with a twang. And everyone, anywhere in the world, can identify with the panic and dread of an un-started assignment due the next day.
The best part of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is that it feels like you’re really reading a kid’s diary. Author Jeff Kinney has mastered a preteen’s voice, and it never once feels like an adult is trying to sound like a kid. The book contains many illustrations that circumvent exposition beautifully; instead of describing something in a long, boring paragraph, readers are shown it in hilarious sketches. There is no real plot or narrative, just one young boy’s depiction of the events of his life for a few months, but Diary doesn’t lack structure and is a complete book. I didn’t even realise I was reading the second of a series until well after I had finished, despite not having read the first.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodick Rules is a wonderful story for kids aged 8 and older. It will keep young readers in giggles with Greg’s thoughts and antics, which are written without fear like most real diaries. I kept a diary when I was young, which probably contained musings on “the meaning of life” and professions of love for New Kids on the Block. If anyone else had read it, I might have died of embarrassment. I doubt Greg would be horrified that we’re reading his diary, though. It is, after all, meant for the world to see.
This is not for younger than 12 years old. The first of these books in the series has comic strip drawings which entice younger ones. One of the first things my son saw was “step on a crack break your momm’s back”. As he flipped a few pages away a doctor in the drawing says “your mom slipped on a banana peel and died”. Despite his father and my reactions to his laughter at this statement, my son failed to use his own judgement in reading this sad statement and just continued to laugh. This appears to change a young child’s perception and therefore not suitable for younger than 12.