I started reading this book in class the other day and it literally made me LOL during silent reading. (Bad example, Mrs. P!) These books are always so funny, and they are written so precisely that they aren’t just throw-away funny, they are truly funny-funny. I love the movies, too!
In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (that’s book #8 for those of you keeping track), Greg and Rowley have grown apart. Rowley, of all people, has gotten himself a girlfriend! Greg finds himself pushed out of the friendship and is left to figure out what to do with himself. His family is still their wacky selves, and he makes several discoveries around the house since he is spending so much time at home. First, he finds a Magic 8 Ball fortune-teller under Roderick’s bed. He begins using it to make all of the decisions he needs to face, though it’s not exactly accurate or reliable. Secondly, while hiding from his chores in his parents’ closet (based on advice he got from the Magic 8 Ball), he finds a pile of parenting books and realizes his mom has been studying child psychology and using it on him all of these years! He finds some other odd things in that closet, too, which leads to the funniest part of the whole book when he decides to take it to school. I won’t say what it is, but the illustrations cracked me up! This story also brings in Greg’s extended family as they get together for Easter and leads to a hunt for Grandma’s diamond ring that she may have hidden in the backyard before she died.
Now, I wanted to feel for Greg and how he struggles with losing Rowley as his sidekick. I’m a middle school teacher, and I see groups of friends shifting as the year goes along, not to mention this whole dating thing starting up, and it can really pull the rug out from underneath a person! I separated from the girls I had known and been friends with for-ev-er when I was in sixth grade, and we grew apart. It was time to regroup. It happens. So I did recognize that in Greg as he wanders around the lunchroom trying to figure out where to sit, or hangs out at the find-a-friend station on the playground, unsure of what to do with himself. And then he decides that now would be a great time to get Fregley on his side, so he goes off to pursue that friendship.
It doesn’t go well, and it really brings to light how much Greg uses everyone around him. He chooses his friends based on what they can do for HIM. Since Rowley would carry Greg’s backpack home, Greg plans to get Fregley to do the same. Greg wants to mold Fregley into a new person for his own personal benefit. And when you start to think about it, he’s been doing the same to Rowley all these years!
This has been bothering me all week. I’m not sure why. I hope Greg learned from this lesson. It’s hard to tell with middle school boys. So while I laughed and laughed while reading, the book did not sit well with me in the end. Because Rowley is out of the picture, and Roderick is barely mentioned, this book feels more like a series of smaller stories stuck together. I do hope there will be a book #9, just because I need to know that Greg finally “got it” and changed his attitude as he evolved.
Read this if you’ve read all the others, of course! Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck has an AR level of 5.5 and is worth 3 points.