The suburban setting of Diary of a Wimpy Kid frames the parameters of the book's plot, which is less a linear story than a personal narrative of middle-school experience. The relative stability of a two-parent home life and a safe community frees Greg, the young protagonist, to focus on universal middle-school concerns: status, acne, tests, girls, bullies, etc.
The setting appeals to kids who are living in this type of environment, as well as to their parents and teachers, many of whom were also suburbanites. Author Jeff Kinney pokes fun not just at school experience, but also at the perils of suburban life—such as Greg's having to walk through the men's showers at the local swimming pool. It's this broader appeal, combined with the book's easy-to-read, school-notebook style pages, that has made it a renowned bestseller and movie. Even though it's set in suburbia, Greg's adventures and observations have transcendent appeal, because in the end the problems Greg faces are the concerns of most adolescents, regardless where they live.