THE THIRD WHEEL by Jeff Kinney


From the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, volume 7
Age Range: 8 - 12


Greg Heffley, that most profoundly unlikable of antiheroes, is back with another litany of complaints.

The book opens with a lengthy lampoon of the efforts of overeager parents to produce genius children (completely fruitless, as Greg’s post-utero experience clearly demonstrates) and ends with an enormously unpleasant Valentine’s Day dance. In between, Greg schemes for the upper hand, as always. The recession brings a cautionary example to the household in the person of his loser uncle Gary, who crashes on the couch while recouping losses from the purchase of cartons of misspelled souvenir “Botson” T-shirts. Oh, the irony: Though Greg recognizes his uncle as a creepy jerk, he does not see in Gary his inevitable future self. Will readers? Seven books into the series, one would expect to see some growth in Greg’s character, but no. He's as self-serving and manipulative as ever, possibly even more so, and by this point, there are few laughs left to mine. One’s left wondering, what is the enduring appeal? Given that Kinney’s oeuvre has spawned an entire subgenre (though he did not originate it—Marissa Moss' Amelia’s Notebook and its sequels combined faux-handwritten journals with drawings beginning in 1995), it's mystifying that kids are not flocking to the many alternatives now available.

It’s time for the Wimpy Kid machine to grind to a halt. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0584-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:

Kirkus Interview
Jeff Kinney
author of THE LONG HAUL
November 12, 2014

A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun…unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys of Jeff Kinney’s famous Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget. We talk to Kinney on Kirkus TV this week about the wild success of the Wimpy Kid books and his latest in the series, The Long Haul. View video >


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