autobiography Blog reviews

book report: diary of a wimpy kid

rodrickThese days its easier than ever to embrace your inner nerd. It’s almost as if nerds are cool. Witness this startling event that occurred on Conan O’Brien not long ago.

Can you read lips? Perhaps you didn’t catch what Eva Mendez said to Fogell from Superbad. Well, that’s okay because he tells us. And what self-respecting nerd wouldn’t share the information that Eva Mendez loves him?

If a young Marlon Brando wanted to break into the movie business today, he’d be in either Knocked Up or Iron Man.brando-young seth-rogan

Back in my day, nerds were treated with indifference at best, scorn and mockery at worst. That is why it is refreshing to come across a book that doesn’t set out to make a nerd’s life look cool, a book that shows how nerds actually experience the world around them. Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid tells the truth, and the truth ain’t pretty. Consider this my book report on the second (and, in this blogger’s opinion, superior) book in the series: Rodrick Rules.

Every kid learns how to write a book report the quick & dirty way. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and most of those need to be spent playing PS3. Greg Heffley found a way to milk a single book for most of his middle school years.wimpy-kid-sherlock1
Greg understands that you’re writing a book report for an audience (namely, the teacher).wimpy-kid-sherlock2
How is Kinney able to embed himself into the nerd psyche?

Witness this entry, when Greg considers restarting his comic strip idea:wimpy-kid-comic
The key concept here is that Greg’s friend, Rowley, quit drawing his comic strip to spend more time playing with his Dinoblazer action figures. He stopped one incredibly nerdy activity so he could engage in an even nerdier one! In the bizarro world we now inhabit, Eva Mendez should be all over this guy.

What made this book for me was the description of Greg’s summer swim team. As a middle/high school swimmer, I sympathized with Greg’s antipathy towards some of the trappings of the sport.wimpy-kid-swim1
Football players get helmets, shoulder and knee pads, spiked shoes. Everything and anything to make them look bigger and more powerful. Swimmers get a quarter-inch piece of stretchy fabric.

Ever the vigilant blogger, Greg minces no words when it comes to critiquing not only swimming but his place in it.
It’s high time for nerds to be exposed as the, well, nerds that we are. Sure we’re proud. We raise our fists in the air, clutching our asthma inhalers. We hold our heads high, to prevent the inevitable bloody nose. We march toward a brighter future, when time travel will be possible. And we sing together, humming the tune to the Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros.

Greg Heffley is a nerd not just for today, but for all time. Now I must be going; I have to meticulously catalog all the differences between the stereo and mono versions of Sgt. Pepper.