16 April 2010

The Atlantic Gets Diary of a Wimpy Kid

In a review of the recent movie adaptation, James Parker writes perceptively for the Atlantic Monthly about how Jeff Kinney’s books work:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid and its three sequel volumes are droll, coolly experimental, and quite clearly—as far as the kids are concerned—on the money. The cartoons are in a continual and rather sophisticated dialogue with the text, answering, amplifying, or ironizing it, and it’s amazing how much funniness Kinney can inject into his spare little images.
In contrast, I was disappointed in the reaction of the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr:
The movie’s bigger problem is that its live-action Greg Heffley is a jerk. In his quest for instant fame, our hero treats his friend like dirt, trash-talks the school’s perfectly reasonable alt-girl (Chloë Moretz), ditches a group of kindergartners in a construction pit in the rain (and blames it on Rowley), and otherwise behaves like a little Hun.
Yeah, Greg is ruthless. That’s the point. His ruthlessness in self-preservation is, like his humiliations, elevated a bit above what most books reveal about middle school. Maybe this doesn’t come across as nicely on screen, but I got the sense Burr was expecting a more typical movie.

Finally, an even less kindly review from Godson’s Brother when first looking into Diary of a Wimpy Kit Do-It-Yourself Book, the spin-off meant to encourage kids to try their own writing and cartoons:
they are just blank because Jeff Kinney is too lazy to think up anything more himself

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