Hard luck: Diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney

cover image

Penguin Australia, 2013. ISBN 9780143308089.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. I have no doubt that there were some furtive sidelong glances from my fellow commuters on the train as I chuckled my way through the latest of the Diary of a wimpy kid books - Hard luck.
There is something about the hapless Greg Heffley that strikes a chord with thousands of fans, including me (perhaps because he sometimes puts me in mind of Frank Spencer, Some mothers do 'ave 'em).
In this latest episode from the continuing comedy that is Greg's life, our poor anti-hero finds himself without his lifelong friend Rowley because - shock! Rowley has a girlfriend with whom he is totally besotted. No one to carry his heavy bag of books, no one to give out dog poo warnings, no one to deflect the feral forest thugs and certainly no one to hang out with. Greg discovers that making new friends in middle school is a difficult if not impossible ask.
Fed up with what he sees as wrong decisions being made about his life and the subsequent disastrous consequences, Greg takes fate in a firm grip and starts placing all his choices with the answer given by a 'Magic 8' ball. Naturally, this does not go according to plan!
Amongst many hilarious scenes from the book, my undoubted favourite is Greg hiding out in his mother's wardrobe and uncovering a 'secret stash' hidden away - no, not what you might think at all! This carefully hoarded cache is a collection of parenting books, from which Greg recognises many techniques used by his mum along with multiples of his favourite toy - in case of disaster with the original (or is that no longer the original?).
This book is highly recommended for readers, both boys and girls, 10 and up - and as with all the Diary of a wimpy kid books, a great choice for reluctant readers.
Sue Warren