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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The One Where A Wimpy Non-Fan (Finally) Begins to Understand the Allure ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I know people love Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I'll tell you the truth (unlike every other day, when I tell you LIES), I don't.  Like it?  Yes.  Love it?  Nope.  My response to the first book baffles my children, who think the whole series is the best thing since commercial-less cartoons (we love you, Netflix!).  Maybe it's because I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but I just wasn't that impressed with the book (in fact, here's my review).  Although my kids have read every story in the series—at least twice—I never got beyond the first installment.  Until my 10-year-old daughter came home from school one day in November, handed me The Third Wheel and said, "[School librarian's name] wants you to write a test for this book.  Tons of kids have been asking for it.  Including me."  Because I can't say no to my daughter, let alone "tons of kids," I got right on it.  And guess what?  Much to my surprise, I rather enjoyed The Third Wheel

The Third Wheel is the sixth book in the series (not including The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary).  Usually, I wouldn't read Book Six without reading Two, Three, Four, and Five, but in a library emergency, sacrifices must be made.  So, I'm not sure how old Greg Heffley is in The Third Wheel or what grade he's currently suffering through (and where is Rodrick, by the way?  Military school?), but he hasn't changed a whole heck of a lot.  He's still trying to fit in at school, still dealing with his embarrassing best friend, and still picking on his kid brother, Manny.  New adventures await around the corner, however.  Soon, he's learning to cope (as only he can) with another round of student elections, having his deadbeat uncle as a permanent roommate, the scratchy school toilet paper, and finding a date to the school dance.  Becuase it's Greg Heffley, the mundane soon becomes the hilarious.

One of my beefs with the first book in the Wimpy series is that it has no real plot.  The various anecdotes made me laugh, but the fact that they didn't come together to create a connected story irritated me.  Since I knew what to expect coming into The Third Wheel, the plotlessness of the book didn't bother me.  I just enjoyed it for what it was—belly laughing, nose snorting, knee slapping fun.  Maybe these books aren't great literature, but they are quick and funny, perfect for handing to reluctant readers or anyone who could use a giggle.  I'm not ready to gush incessantly about this series the way my kids do and, yet, I'm starting to understand the allure.  Millions of kids can't be wrong.  Can they?

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney.  Also reminds me of the Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renèe Russell)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for some bathroom-type humor

To the FTC, with love:  I borrowed The Third Wheel from my kids' elementary school library as part of my volunteer work with the school's reading program.  


  1. Yeah, I'm a fan of the Wimpy kid books. I think I have a bit too much of a kid kind of humor :) But, I haven't read all the books yet so I guess I'm not a true fan :)

  2. My son has read all of the Wimpy Kid books. I started to read the first one but lost interest about half way through. lol

    I do love the movies, though (especially the first one!).

  3. I really do think they are funny... he gets so many things spot on.

  4. Our little sister is crazy about the Diary...Wimpy Kid series, though I don't think she's read this one yet. I'm gonna have to suggest this to her and maybe I should check it out myself. I never saw any appeal in it before, even as a child, but I just might now because of your honest review.

    Great post and thanks for stopping by our blog!


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