Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The fifth main novel in the series, and still great fun, with still some minor flaws - but ones the audience won't notice.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: November 2010|
It's all change for the wimpy kid. He's still as flummoxed by school life, and the social kudos gained by certain second hand textbooks. He's still not sure why he's not getting the attention at home that's now being delivered on his younger brother. He's not certain what to do now his mother's gone back to work and the menfolk have to do the catering and cleaning - but there's nothing odd about that, for none of the males have a clue. So what is changing? Well lots of things - inside and out. Just as he and his friends are gaining muscles, deeper voices and zits, and interest in mixed-sex partying, so the school are segregating the genders, and showing educational videos you need parental permission to watch. Who is going to guide him through this time in life - especially as he's dumped his best buddy?
If there are changes to the regular Wimpy Kid format, I didn't see them. I did, however, get the sense that if anything there are more pictures than ever before, providing as usual most of the humour, with their Matt Groening-style cutaways to scenes of embarrassment, sarcasm, or poopie noises. Book five in the series then feels like an even brisker read.
It still remains an ideal title for the self-doubting reader with little confidence. These are encouragingly solid yet take no time to breeze through, and there is humour for all on almost every page. It's only the adults who are likely to see things here as flaws. The plot does amble around its topics at times, although there are others when nice beats come back as surprises. The wedding seems like being a climax, when it really is almost a series of introductions to not much. More could have been made of the school's sleepover. And if we go further down the road of the script being extended captions to cartoons, why not just drop the writing totally?
But there is still entertainment here, even for the adult. It's surprising how much of his life Greg can blame on his father - so even if you didn't have a lazy, greedy housemaid around when you were young you will find something to identify with. There's yet again a pitch-perfect comedy of embarrassment here, such as the build-up to THAT talk from his great-grandmother. And for a book hedging around puberty, it still comes over as warm, human, and finely judged in lots of regards.
I don't think it's as brilliant as the last one of these I met, Dog Days, but on a good day it could well have received four and a half stars - and I remain convinced that's the least the series' fans will award it.
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