|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck|
November 5, 2013
224 (217 reading pages)
- Greg Heffley
- Rowley Jefferson (main antagonist)
- Rodrick Heffley
- Abigail Brown
- Manny Heffley
- Frank Heffley
- Susan Heffley
This article contains major plot spoilers! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
Greg is upset over losing Rowley as his best friend, though his mother tries to cheer him up by telling him that friends come and go. Since Rowley Jefferson and Abigail Brown became a couple at the end of the previous book, the two friends have become more and more distant, very noticably even within nine and a half days. There were many things Greg and Rowley used to do together, such as blow bubbles with chocolate milk cartons that they can't do now, because Abigail disapproves of it. Greg doesn't like how Abigail is trying to shape Rowley, and even believes she is starting to use him. Greg states it gets to the point where Rowley isn't allowed his own opinions anymore, but is simply just following Abigail's. Many plans, such as a snowball fight on a nice day, haven't gone ahead, and when Greg confronts Rowley, he taunts Greg by telling him he's just jealous that he has a girlfriend. Also, Rowley is the only one who can bail Greg out of the fact his English teacher, Mr. Blakely, only accepts essays written in cursive, but also, usually, Rowley scouts ahead and checks for any dog poop whilst they are walking to school, but without Rowley, Greg is having to watch out for the poop himself and avoid a very nasty Rottweiler whilst walking to school. And then Abigail starts using Rowley to carry her books. Greg used to use Rowley to do the same thing.
Greg finds a solution to his book problem - a roller bag. He is able to get to school fast, but there are a few dangers between home and school, such as an angry neighbour who's front lawn got ripped up as a result of a game Greg and Rowley played last winter and woods full of the Mingo kids, who are like wild animals. Mom notices Greg and Rowley have stopped hanging out and gives Greg some advice. Greg, after reading a hundred editions of Slumber Party Pals, he realizes that girl friendships and boy friendships are different. He then explains bad things about his lunch table like the five-second rule where anyone can eat anything if it is not on the ground for five or more seconds. Then he explains the problems in his lunch room, he criticizes the burger and fries that they get on Friday and how Nolan Tiago gets food from a fast-food place and how everybody would fight for getting the fries which fall out of his box and explains the problem with seats in his lunchroom.
Greg and Rowley once went cycling in the basketball court and a kid called Leon used to kick them out of it and bully them. Greg and Rowley's moms made them join "The Superhero Training Academy" which turned out be a scam for little children.Then they learnt that there powers were totally useless. Greg then talks about the different groups of people who hang out in recess, including Erick Glick, a kid who hangs around with his "sketchy" friends and he would give any person a old book report or homework assignment if they pay him.Then Greg talks about how the bully-reporting station (from Cabin Fever) turned into "Find a Friend" station.No kid came, but a teacher Mr. Nern came and played checkers with him.Greg then starts feeling bad that even his younger brother Manny has friend and grandfather also has a girlfriend and lots of women trying to win him over.Then he explains how Susan trys to get Greg to make friends by having him have a playdate with her old mate's son who turned out be a highschool senior.She gives Greg advices to make friends and be popular but these didn't help Greg since it was not what was considered popular in Greg's school.
Then the school came up with a system called "Hero Point" which was awarded to a child if he was found being kind to someone else and these could be exchanged for prizes.Then the kids started faking it and Glick got hands on a sheet of it and photocopied it and sold it for money.Soon the teachers got suspicious that even the worst kids got loads of them, so they started printing them in different colors of paper but that didn't work and they started a rule that only a limited amount can be used at a time.Even the children who got more then that amount legitimately were given detentions. The school then canceled the system after discovering the base of the children who made fake hero points. Greg then complains to Susan that popularity matters on clothes in his schools so she takes him,Rodrick and Manny to shopping. Greg talks about how his shoes are hand-me-downs from Rodrick and how in fourth grade his mother bought new cheap ones at dollar stores that broke easily and then Greg tries to decide which one he should pick. Greg then explains how the way to his school is very dirty and he tries to avoid them by covering his shoes with plastic bags. Then at school,he has a Geography pop quiz,Greg noticed that there was dog poop on his shoes so the teacher gave him a plastic bag to keep it and do the test.Greg later finds backup shoes of Mr. Nern which were to big for his feet and people laughed at him.Susan told Greg that he should go out and find new friend, but there aren't any good people to be friends with.
Greg suddenly thinks of Fregley, and thought if he becomes his friend he can train him to be the friend he wants.Greg though he had use Fregley as his comic relief to gain popularity.Greg then invites him to his desk at lunch and tries to tell him about the rules of the desk and when he was telling him about the five-second rule Fregley quickly eat the potato chip in his hand.When they were going back home,Greg used Fregley to look out for dog poop and carry his bag.But they got too close to the Mingo kids and all of them started chasing them,Fregley threw Greg's book thinking they would stop and read them.
The next day Greg found when Fregley was getting dressed he accidentally wore his shirt upside down. So Greg took him to the girl's table and hoped they would laugh, but they didn't so he asked Fregley to do a trick. Fregley stripped down to his underwear and put a chewing gum in his belly button and started chewing it and then he tried to blow a bubble but that didn't happen and scared the girl, after that the boys got impressed and tried to see what else Fregley can chew. Greg thought since his spring-break is coming he can have a stress-free break until Susan tells that they are going to visit her family.
Greg then explain his mother's side of family and her sisters: Gretchen, Audra, Veronica and Cakey. Aunt Cakey hated children and never married, she would not trust the kids of breaking anything when they came. Gretchen had two wild twin boys Malvin and Malcolm who were wild and needed child leashes and have a lot of pets. Veronica barely appears in any of the family reunions and would appear by video conferences and his aunt Audra believed in crystall balls and horoscopes and would ask her psychic before making decisions. Greg talks about his luck and how he has been seeing things like horoscopes and fortune cookies and he is not happy with the results of making his own desicions.Greg later how he used to make cash by selling drawings to the family, but they got tired of it and started buying Manny's.Greg explains the Easter is going to be at his grandmother's house again and there is no kind of entertainment for children there and she only has a stuffed elephant Ellie, but her dog and their old dog Sweetie tore off its trunk,ears and limbs.Greg explains how his old dog has became really overweight after his grandmother overfed him.Greg explains how he used to enjoy Easter when his great-grandmother Meemaw was still alive, she would put prizes in plastic eggs and would hide them in the backyard.Then after brunch,the kids would go their and find as much eggs they can.But later she started putting wierd things in the eggs in her later years.After Meemaw passed away, at her funeral Susan noticed her diamond ring was missing.It was pretty precious and worthy, and all the relatives got scared and tried to find the ring.Then later they had Easter, where everybody were happy and people moved past the ring issue.Greg introduces some of his family members also.Greg then explains how he gets bored there since he doesn't have anything to occupy himself with.Greg then explains the main event at easter was brunch and he didn't like eating there since he thought it was to formal.Greg explains that the way they qualify adult and grown-up is incorrect since his Uncle Cecil who is actually 3-4 years old and was adopted by his Great-Aunt Marcie would be seated with adults and Rodrick with kids although he is almost a grown man.Then Aunt Audra's psychic told her that Meemaw's ringer was in a family photo albulm and then many members started searching the albums.They didn't found it and looked for clues until his Uncle Larry found two photos of the last year easter and in one photo Meemaw was wearing the ring and in another wasn't,so they thought it was in one of the plastic eggs and started searching the backyard.The family didn't come inside and the Heffleys finally left.Aunt Gretchen and her sons were supposed to stay with the Heffleys for a week but they did only for two days since one of the twins had called 911 when the ketchup ran out.Greg was sleeping in Rodrick's room on an air mattress, the next day when he woke up he found a magic 8 ball under Rodrick's bed,he took it and asked it a question and shaked it.Then the magic 8 ball started giving answers that were reasonable,Greg realized that he could also take advices from it and he would use it to make little decisions in his life.
Greg starts finding a few a limitations of his magic 8-ball, but dousn't give it up. One day, Greg's mother tells him to go outside, but he hides in her closet instead. There he finds a lot of parenting books hidden away, and finds out that his mother has been using the books to control him, rodrick and manny. Then he notices some stuffed-monkeys which exactly looked like the one he had as a child. then a fllash back happens to the time when greg lost the toy, but he found another on top of his dresser and realized his mother bought backups to replace it if it gets lost. Greg then uses the "reverse psychology" to convince his parents to getting him a phone and gets his mother's old one. Greg was not allowed to text and had to share the phone with Manny. Greg downloaded some games and would play them, until when he was in the bathroom playing games and his Aunt Veronica's video chat came and he got suprised and dropped the phone,but fished it out but it wasn't working. Greg decides to take up a hobby club after-school so he can escape the Mingo kids' woods and kill the time. Using the magic 8 ball he came across the yearbook club door, the yearbook was almost complete but more photographs were needed so Greg signed up. Greg started taking pictures of random things since he couldn't find anything interesting which people were doing. He started editing photos to make them funny. He goes back to his mother's closet and found his Body Blankie,a blanket which had sleeves with mittens. Greg and Rodrick were totally addicted to it and they would almost always wear it and would sleep anywhere with it,so his parent took them away. Greg thought that wearing his body blankie to school would make him feel same like being in bed so he wore it under his school clothes. Greg had disadvantages:He could not open his locker and wasn't able to do Jumping Jacks in Phys Ed properly. After that he thought of taking it out but its zipper fell off and he started to sweat even more. Then he had a Social Studies true/false test. He used the magic 8 ball to find the reason, but while doing so his magic 8 ball fell down and the teacher caught him. The teacher thought it was a "high-tech" cheating device and reported him to the vice principal Mr. Roy who later called his mother. His mother tried to defend Greg by saying that the magic 8 ball was just a "toy" and was harmless, but Mr. Roy said that Greg's grade have been deteriorating and gives him a warning that if they don't improve he would be at summer school. Greg then gets worried about summer school and talks about it and how he gets worried about his grade. Then Greg got worried about his science fair which is coming soon. Greg was getting ideas, but his yearbook teacher came and asked him to take photographs of the category winners. Greg took the pictures of them until Rowley and Abigail showed up who wever voted cute couples and Greg started feeling unpleasant but took their photos any way and resigned from his job.
The cover is lime green, and has magic eight balls raining depicted with Greg dodging them with a book (most likely his diary).
- This book was first announced in the final pages of The Third Wheel.
- On 25 March 2013, Jeff Kinney revealed the book's teaser, which had Greg with an umbrella while Magic Eight Balls fall around him.
- On July 18, 2013, it was announced the cover would be revealed on August 8th, 2013.
- Before the title of the book was revealed, there were several rumors about what the book would be called, including Life Stress, Flipped Out, Spring Bummer and a fake cover called "School Dilemma".
- This is the second book with the word "Diary" not being yellow, the first being Dog Days.
- The word "of a Wimpy Kid" is not blue or red like the other books, instead it's orange.
- It was rumored for a while that the book would be the final one in the series, until Jeff Kinney said that it wouldn't be.
- This is the third time that Greg and Rowley have a big falling out. The first was in the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid after Greg got Rowley in trouble about the safety patrols and lied about it, and the second being in The Ugly Truth when they have a big fight over the events towards the end of Dog Days.
- Many things that haven't appeared since the early books (or books outside the main series) reappear in this one:
- Mrs. Norton makes another appearance. She hadn't appeared since the first book.
- Alex Aruda makes another appearence too. He hadn't appeared since The Last Straw.
- Several things from Dog Days and Cabin Fever make a reappearance in this book - Sweetie is seen again, as well as the Ladybug.
- Meemaw and Peepaw had previously appeared in the family tree of the extended Do-It-Yourself Book, and this is their first appearance and mention in the main book series.This was also the first book where a family event takes place at Susan's side.
- In Greg's math problem, the answer is 62. Equations like that are generally sixth-grade questions. This could mean Greg isn't very good at math at all.
- On Page 29, Rowley closes his mouth for the second time in the book series, the first being page 166 of The Third Wheel, and the fourth overall, counting the online version.
- Fregley is seen closing his mouth for the first time in the series. He closes it on page 79, twice on 80 and also on page 81.
- In real life, a magic 8 ball typically wouldn't break from being dropped once - they're extremely tough to break in reality.