HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #8
Author and Illustrator: Jeff Kinney
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 2013
Related websites: http://www.wimpykid.com (series), http://www.amuletbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: ** 2 stars (POOR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Kinney, Jeff. Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #8 (published in 2013 by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, 115 W. 18th St., New York City, NY 10011). Oh, dear me! Another “Wimpy Kid” book? What is this now, number 8? How many more will there be? I wonder if down the road we’ll be reading “Diary of a Wimpy Senior Citizen” about Greg Heffley’s activities while living in a nursing home (I made a similar comment in my review of the previous “Wimpy Kid” book too). These “Wimpy Kid” books are apparently extremely popular, and many people evidently like them. As you may tell, however, I do not, yet the publisher keeps sending me each new one for review. In Hard Luck, the story revolves around the fact Greg’s best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him because Rowley now has a girlfriend, Abigail. A lot of godly parents strenuously object to children’s books which emphasize the dating/going steady scene for kids, especially as young as middle school.
Along the way, the plot, what little of it there is, meanders through a Rottweiler named Rebel, the Mingo kids who live in the woods on the way to school, the Heffley’s strange relatives, a bunch of students who run an old assignments recycling racket in an unused school storeroom, even Greg’s new friend Fregley who can blow bubbles by “chewing” gum with his belly button, and a “Magic 8 Ball.” There are some references to “dog poop,” and the euphemistic “darn it” is used once. Greg reads all the books in “the Slumber Party Pal series” and thinks that popularity is based on stuff like what kinds of brand-name clothes one wears or what kind of cell phone he has. One of Greg’s aunts is into psychics, and his Gramma supposedly has ESP. Also a reference to playing the lottery occurs. A lot of parents I know would just as soon that their children NOT have many of these kinds of things paraded before them.
As I’ve said of the other “Wimpy Kid” books that I’ve reviewed, Hard Luck isn’t an evil or even necessarily a bad story. However, the book illustrates all the things about public school life which have caused so many parents to pull their kids out and homeschool them so that they can have more positive experiences. Also, as we were raising our boys, we had much better hopes for our family than what the Heffleys exemplify. If what happens to them and what they do are “normal,” it may well help to explain why our culture is headed downward. Each family will have to decide whether the “Wimpy Kid” books are appropriate for their children or not, but I don’t really recommend them. From a Biblical worldview and even a literary standpoint, so much truly good, beneficial children’s literature is available that it is a shame to waste one’s reading time on what amounts to junk.