Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
By Tina Vasquez, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: December 2, 2010
By Jeff Kinney
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 217 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books (November 2010)
Last month, in what was believed to be the biggest book release of the year, Jeff Kinney added another addition to his increasingly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series: The Ugly Truth. This chapter of Greg Heffley’s life is chronicled in the same diary/illustration style so many children have come to know and love, but this time around the loveable protagonist is on the cusp of that very rocky period known as puberty. Greg finds himself in all kinds of new and unsettling situations, like sitting though boys-only classes devoted to “the facts of life” or getting cornered by his gammie for “the talk” and though nothing groundbreaking is ever revealed to him about the intricacies of adult life, it’s clear that young Greg is struggling to walk the fine line between childhood and young adulthood.
To make matters more difficult, a summertime argument is drawn out for months, forcing Greg to return to middle school without the much-needed companionship of his goof of a best friend, Rowley Jefferson. Worse yet, Greg’s mom has also decided to return to school for a semester, leaving he and his brothers and father to fend for themselves. Greg may be incredibly smart and perceptive for his age, but he’s still too immature to admit to his mother- and himself- that at this point in his life he needs his mom around for more than just making dinner and washing dirty laundry; he needs her presence and guidance.
In each edition of the Wimpy Kid series it’s always seemed as if Greg wanted to grow up quickly, but now that things are changing faster than he’d like them to he’s forced to navigate the often complicated world of girls and social circles on his own. In the Ugly Truth, it’s clear that Greg just wants things to go back to the way they were.
Chances are Kinney will continue riding this series out, which means young readers will just have to wait and see where life takes Greg Heffley.
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