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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This juvenile humor book by Jeff Kinney is the fifth in the " Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams.

The Ugly Truth is written for kids ages 8 to 12 years. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Middle schooler Greg Heffley faces challenges with the start of a new school year. He's on the outs with his best friend, Rowley, and doesn't know anyone else who is best friend material. Other kids his age are starting to attend boy-girl parties and post pictures of their exciting lives online. He mentally prepares himself for a class called advanced health, in which he knows he will be learning top-secret stuff. Home life will also be different because Mom is going back to school to take a few classes.

The school year starts out fine, even though the gym coach has begun requiring showers after PE. Greg's mom, also noticing Greg's more manly smells, leaves a book on his bed called What the Heck Just Happened to My Body? When it's time for the "Facts of Life" portion of advanced health, Greg fears his mom, who only lets him watch G-rated movies, won't sign his permission slip. He creates a fake permission slip and tapes it on top of the one Mom needs to sign. She signs the paper, clueless to his deception. Greg is somewhat disappointed when the unit focuses on scientific things like zygotes and chromosomes. He's also required to keep an egg safe for 24 hours to simulate caring for a human baby. His grade suffers after his mom scrambles the egg for breakfast.

Mom hires a maid named Isabelle, who does nothing but nap and watch TV. She eventually is fired for having soap opera parties at the Heffley home during work hours. Greg attends a school lock-in, during which parents mutiny because they can't reach their kids by cellphone. Greg is invited to a party at one of the cool kids' homes but can't go because it's the same time as Uncle Gary's fourth wedding.

Greg sees a lot of his extended family. First, Grandpa comes to watch him and his brothers while Mom and Dad take a short trip. In November, the whole family gathers at Gammie's for Uncle Gary's latest wedding. On the way to Gammie's, Greg overhears his mom say he'll be wearing a tux. He's excited because he thinks this means he'll be a groomsmen and get to attend the bachelor party. He elaborates on the interesting characteristics of many of his relatives, bemoans the sleeping conditions as everyone packs into Gammie's house, complains of boredom and becomes physically ill after eating ancient candy from a jar on Gammie's mantle. Greg is ultimately disappointed to learn he's not a groomsman but the assistant flower boy. As the trip ends, Gammie gives him a lecture about the miseries of growing old.

The year begins to improve when Mom decides to put her schooling on hold. After Gammie's talk, Greg realizes he wants to enjoy his youth as long as he can. He even makes up with Rowley.

Christian Beliefs

Greg is afraid Uncle Gary will ask him to be a "reader" at his wedding. He says this is where adults pick a kid to read something from the Old Testament at the ceremony because everyone thinks it's cute when the kid can't pronounce the names.

Other Belief Systems

Greg says he doesn't want to jinx things, but it's looking like it could be a good year for him. He talks about the bad luck of getting a textbook that belonged to a nerd the year before vs. the good luck of getting a popular kid's old book.

Authority Roles

Dad urges Greg to be more mature, and Dad tries to pick up the slack at home when Mom goes back to school. Mom acknowledges Greg's entry into adolescence by writing an embarrassing column in the local paper and leaving a book about body changes on Greg's bed. Uncle Joe and Gammie give him ominous lectures about the future. Uncle Gary rushes into relationships and fails to share key facts about himself with the women he dates.

Profanity/Violence

None

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Greg's relatives kiss him at family gatherings. This makes him twitchy as he thinks about the bacteria he gets from them that are growing on his face. Uncle Gary and his fiancée kiss at the dinner table. Greg looks forward to attending a party where he can play spin-the-bottle with girls a whole grade ahead of him.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Adolescent/Bathroom Humor: The diary depicts Greg's classmate, Tyson, standing at a urinal with his bare behind showing. Greg says Tyson is nice enough, but he can't get past the way Tyson pulls his pants all the way down when he goes to the bathroom. Greg includes cartoon pictures of girls in bikinis when he talks about his friends posting their photos online. Referring to a video from advanced health, Greg's cartoon shows a young boy in underpants, then a slightly older boy in underpants with armpit hair, then a grown man in underpants with hair all over his face and body. Mom gives Greg a book called What the Heck Just Happened to My Body? The cartoon picture of the book cover shows a boy naked from the waist up, looking confused. Greg elaborates about how the males in his family always miss the toilet. Tired of cleaning up after the boys, Mom calls a house meeting and demands that everyone go to the bathroom sitting down, no matter what. Greg has laundry duty one week and says it should be illegal for a boy to have to fold his mother's underwear. The picture shows him trying to fold bras. One of Greg's friends tells the guys it is medically impossible for girls to fart. The boys at the lock-in look up the word posterior after a teacher uses it. They're amused to find out it means butt and are excited to learn a bunch of other words that mean butt as well.

Smoking: The health teacher warns kids about the dangers of smoking. Greg says after seeing his grandpa smoking at Thanksgiving, he is convinced about how uncool it is. A nearby picture shows his grandfather standing on the toilet lid smoking.

Lying: Dad lies to the doctor about how he hurt his foot because he's embarrassed to admit he tripped over a curb. Greg is afraid his mom won't sign the permission slip for health class. He types up a fake one and tapes it over part of the real one to trick Mom into signing.

Like all "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books, The Ugly Truth is printed on lined paper in a handwriting-type font with numerous cartoon illustrations so it looks like a journal.


This review is brought to you by Focus on the Family, a donor-based ministry. Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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