When a saw children’s book on the syllabus, I assumed it was going to be anti-climactic to semester of hard, thoughtful work in humor. How could Kinney’s cartoon novel stand next to Plato, Twain, Freud, Voltaire, and Sedaris and have something to say? Despite my preconceived notions of the novel, I plunged in. With ever turn of the page, I found myself smiling or laughing out loud. I was able to relive my middle school days through Greg, the good and the bad. This simple read provoked time travel, placing me right back in the halls of Maple Ave Middle School. Kinney effectively used the relief model of humor to put me in a place that was relieving, relaxing, and comforting to relive.
Kinney presents characters that kids and adults can relate to regardless of their age. Who doesn’t get stressed out about silly things every once in awhile? I know I do. Family rivalry, friendship, and social image are universal themes; kids and adults worry about them alike. When we can step back from these real life issues, we realize they are equally as silly as Greg’s issues. Life is one big cheese touch, it may be stressful, but it usually holds humor. Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid is perfect proof that humor can be found in all places.
Throughout the semester we have looked at quite the variety of literature, and to my surprise I have found humor in all of it. Although I love to laugh, I would have never picked up these books for casual reading. I would have never entered into the children’s section of Borders to pick up a book with a slumpy looking cartoon boy on the cover. I most certainly would not have picked up the large cookbook with Amy Sedaris holding a turkey on the cover. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked up the flowery cover of Eat Pray Love, either. This class introduced these books to me and I will be forever grateful. I now constantly think about the impact of humor in the world around me, and I’m not afraid to question its motives.