Ambitious Summer Reading List: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 6 By Jeff Kinney

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever was a bit of a cheat when it came to the Ambitious Summer Reading List 2012. While getting the books I wanted to read this summer together, I had a pretty solid 11 choices and decided to throw Jeff Kinney’s latest on the stack to make it an even dozen. It’s a cheat because these books clock in at just over 200 pages, are written in the voice of a young boy and have plenty of illustrations between the paragraphs to make for a quick reading experience.

All that being said, I’m still a big fan of this book series and have been for about two years. Back in 2010 I interviewed Kinney for MTV Geek and not only had a fantastic conversation with him but also read the entire book series. If you’re unfamiliar the books are a first person recounting of the life of Greg, a grade school kid who also draws cartoons in his diary (though he hates that it’s called a diary). The beauty of the series is that Kinney does such an amazing job of interpreting the world through the eyes of a kid. It feels modern and current while at the same time reminding me of my childhood. I was never quite as conniving and sneaky as Greg is in the books (I’d rather just do the work, he’d rather work hard to get around doing the work) but there are definitely aspects of his creativity and life that I can relate to, and that’s where the real heart is for me in these books.

Cabin Fever, as you might expect after checking out the cover takes place mostly in the winter. The book deals with all kinds of elements from Greg and his pal Rowley trying to set up their own Christmas Bazaar sale (we had those at my school) to his exploits trying to shovel snow (I also used water to try and melt the snow, though with much less disastrous results). There’s also stories that scare me about being a parent these days like the school wanting the kids to stay fit while also removing their playground equipment, the rampant fundraising nonsense and kids getting addicted to energy drinks. I know there are much worse things to worry about, but as a dad, I assume I’ll worry about them all.

The main thrust of the last part of the book involves a huge snow storm that shuts Greg, his two brothers and his mom in the house while dad gets to chillax in a hotel near work. I can definitely relate to the claustrophobia and paranoia that comes from that kind of situation. For Greg, it’s actually a lot worse as the snow leads to basement flooding and his troublesome little brother not only breaks mom’s glasses but also, well, I won’t spoil it, but he makes the whole situation way worse. I hate that kid.

While I did really enjoy this book, I wasn’t as enthralled as I was with the previous installments. Maybe it’s because I was more on the hunt for those books and more caught up in both the reading and interviewing experiences. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t see as much of myself or my childhood in this volume. Maybe my perspective has just generally shifted. Whatever the reason, I’m still really glad I finally got around to reading this book that’s been sitting around my bed since December. By the way, if you want to check these books out, keep your eyes open at places like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I’ve gotten most of my copies there for about half the cover price. SAVINGS!

As far as the reading list goes, I’m one book away from the halfway point. Seeing as how July’s almost over and I’m not quite sure when fall starts (August 25th or something?), this pile will probably keep me in books until the end of the year. I am making good progress though and even started Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon! Progress!

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