Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9: The Long Haul

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7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Some great moments like the seagull and choose-your-own-adventure reference

Copout ending and too many surreal parts

 
Book Info

Book Title:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9:  The Long Haul

Publisher:  Amulet Books

Writer:  Jeff Kinney

Artist:  Jeff Kinney

Release Date:  November 4, 2014

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Load up the minivan, the Heffleys are going on vacation!

Summer break is a time for relaxing, but Greg Heffley’s summer is about to get a lot less fun.  When his mother decides family time means a family trip with no destination (and no electronics!), even Greg realizes that this is a bad idea.  Loading up the car, Greg, his mother and father, his brother Rodrick, and his little brother Manny hit the road with the destination of…ADVENTURE!!!!  Be it a doomed trip to the beach with an angry gull, a county fair with a piglet as a prize, or the mysterious Beardo family that seems to be following their every footstep, Greg’s just hoping he makes it home in one piece.

Written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9:  The Long Haul was released on November 4, 2014.  Followign Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8:  Hard Luck in 2013, Kinney’s successful line of illustrated books continues to be bestsellers.

I read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book shortly after it was released and enjoyed it immensely as an adult.  Kinney’s stories within the book definitely echo some true events and Greg’s attitude toward them is very real as a kid.  While some entries in this book play down Greg’s age, this volume does keep with Greg’s appropriate age but the story is sometimes less compelling and more surreal than some of the entries.

I was one of the few people that liked family trips at any age (it was just great to get away from home).  I do recognize however that family trips often turn into disaster (a marathon one-day drive from Maine to Indiana and struggles to find a hotel is an example of that).  Much of this aspect of the book ring true to me, but this entry in the series does dip into less than realistic storylines as well.

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Jeff Kinney and his creation

Though the pig was cute, I don’t see these characters taking a piglet on a journey, keeping it in a hotel (expecting their return back), and getting it to use a toilet.  I had laugh-out-loud moments with the aggressive seagull because that could happen and a majority of the story could happen.  Greg’s parents always have meant well in the series, but they aren’t idiots and something like a puppy or a kitten would have been a more realistic approach with the same results (besides who forces a pig on a person…even at a fair?)

I also felt that the ending was a bit of a letdown.  It was pretty obvious where it was leading and events in the book series always payoff (like the Spanish), but referring back to the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for the actual ending sequence was a bit of a copout on Kinney’s behalf (though I loved the reference to every choice is horrible in Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books…no matter how mundane).

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9:  The Long Haul shows that the series still has teeth, but some of them are a bit loose.  I like when Kinney sticks to more realistic portrayals of characters and really had hoped that they were going to Disney World (as a past trip was mentioned at the beginning) because it would have given the characters more of a Wallyworld goal in a National Lampoon’s Vacation sense.  Still it is a quick and fun read and kids will enjoy it and gobble it up…like an uncooked can of cinnamon biscuits.

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Related Links:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6:  Cabin Fever

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7:  The Third Wheel

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8:  Hard Luck

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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