If there is one thing I learned from Rodrick, it’s to set people’s expectations real low so you end up surprising them by practically doing nothing at all.
There are children’s books that can be read at any age. And there are children’s books that anyone other than the peer group should stay away from. The only reason I finished reading this book is because my student wants to read it in his English coaching.
From the point of view of a middle-school boy, this book is perfection. It describes everything from peer pressure, bullying of the weaker, unwanted parental attention, misinterpretation of parental advice and aspirations to problems with friends and many, many things more. I will admit, Greg’s life seems to be a bit full of all of these points, and all of them within one school year. But I can see how the young reader would be able to correspond to the character, feel for him, feel with him, and probably feel a little jealous for some of his adventures.
From my perspective as a girl who was never one for big adventures even when she was that age, who was more of a loner, but loyal to the few friends she had, and who now seems to be carrying a rather uncomfortably positioned moral stick, I couldn’t relate to this book and this character at all. There were very few laughs and many eye-rolls and head-shakes at the entries intended for comic relief.
So I am torn at what I really think of this book.
All [Mom] said was that I should try to do the “right thing”, because it’s our choices that make us who we are.
In the end, however, Greg gets away with too much of his bullying of his so-called best friend. I never could figure out how serious he was about being friends with Rowley – or if Rowley just was the only one wanting to be friends with him. That probably is because I am not quite sure what kind of character Greg is. Anyways, I understand that this book is intended to get young boys to read books, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a bit more of a learning curve for the main character – more than not understanding why he is punished and going on as before. I need character development.
The writing, the ideas, the cartoons, they were all age-appropriate, if not a little easier than expected.
Idea: 4 Stars
Characters: 3 Stars
Realization: 3 Stars
Writing Style: 4 Stars
General Rating: 3 Stars
Personal Rating: 1 Stars