Greg Heffley begins keeping a journal at the insistence of his mother where he relays his middle school and life adventures. Greg wants to be popular, even mildly, and one particular challenge is his less than cool best friend Rowley. (Specifically, while Greg considers himself at the middle of the popularity scale, he thinks Rowley is firmly at the bottom.) While worrying about his popularity, he must also deal with his bullying brother Rodrick and some bullying older kids. Greg’s pursuit for popularity leaves him not particularly considerate of his friends, which ultimately gets him in trouble, but underneath all the troublemaking he has a good heart.
I saw the movie before I read the book but there was so little change between them that it doesn’t make much difference. What makes this book unique is that Greg could come off as completely unlikeable but thanks to some funny stick figure drawings for comic relief, he ends up being more lovable than you might expect.
This isn’t the most adult book and won’t be something I continue reading. It isn’t bad, but even for me, someone who loves kids’ books, this is too juvenile. It’s fun for a laugh (and I plan to read the hebrew versions of some of the books to work on my language skills which will be more challenging and best served with a simpler plot for now). If you have a young child though, this is a good thing to give them to get them started reading. It still has some pictures so they won’t get bored, but it has enough text for them to get used to chapter books.