Diary of a Wimpy Kid

by Jeff Kinney

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid follows Greg Heffley through the course of a school year. Greg is self-conscious about not fitting in among his middle school classmates, whom he labels “morons.” At his mother’s prompting, Greg starts to keep a journal, but when he commissions his mother to buy an appropriate notebook, he is very specific about what kind to buy. Although he insists it is a “journal,” his mother did not paid attention. Greg worries about the repercussions of carrying a “diary.” He also insists he will record only important events to consult later when he becomes rich and famous, not any feelings.

I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I specifically told her to get one that didn’t say “diary” on it.
Great. All I need is for some jerk to catch me carrying this book around and get the wrong idea.

Greg’s parents are invested in his well-being but also concerned that he does not “apply himself,” as his mother puts it, or get involved in school activities. Deciding that his activity will be serving as a class officer, Greg signs up to run for Treasurer. His father had served in that capacity, and at his urging, Greg makes a bunch of campaign posters, takes them to school, and hangs them around the hallways. This plan does not work out, however, as his posters are basically attack ads against his opponent. Greg’s posters accuse Marty Porter of formerly having had “head lice” and question whether the children want him touching their money.

But they were only up for about three minutes before Vice Principal Roy spotted them.
Mr. Roy said you weren’t allowed to write “fabrications” about the other candidates. So I told Mr. Roy that the thing about the head lice was true, and how it practically closed down the whole school when it happened.
But he took down all my posters anyway. So today, Marty Porter was going around handing out lollipops to buy himself votes while my posters were sitting at the bottom of Mr. Roy’s trash can.
I guess this means my political career is officially over.

Greg’s next big scheme is to become the school paper’s cartoonist. The current occupant of the slot was very popular but is no longer because he stopped being funny. Greg is interested in getting in on “some of that kind of fame.” He acknowledges that he may not be able to think up enough jokes, and he and his friend Rowley decide to team up in creating a comic strip.

We banged out a bunch of characters real quick, but that turned out to be the easy part. When we tried to think up some jokes, we kind of hit a wall.
I finally came up with a good solution. I made up a cartoon where the punch line of every strip is “Zoo-Wee Mama!”
That way we wouldn’t get bogged down with having to write actual jokes, and we could concentrate on the pictures.

Greg believes that he tries to do the right thing, but he tends to be self-centered and not see the big picture. This causes problems in his relationship with Rowley, especially when Greg allows Rowley to be blamed for things he did. For example, while walking the kindergarteners home from school one day in his capacity as a Safety Patrol, Greg scares them by dangling worm in front of them. However, he is wearing Rowley’s coat, so a neighbor thinks it is Rowley, who then is called in by the principal. Deciding to tell Rowley, but not the school, Greg thinks he understands the morals of this “learning experience.”

I told him there were lessons we could both learn from this. I told him I learned to be more careful about what I do in front of Mrs. Irvine’s house, and that he learned a valuable lesson, too, which is this: Be careful about who you lend your coat to.

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