If Jeff Kinney were in a Diary of a Wimpy Kid trivia contest against readers of his book series, the bestselling author confesses he wouldn’t stand a chance.
He’d lose outright.
“I have a really bad memory about what’s in my own books, or character names,” Kinney says. “I tend just to look forward and not backward. But then every so often I’ll open one of my books and say, That was actually pretty funny.”
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” has given readers plenty to laugh about in the last decade, and “The Getaway” – Kinney’s 12th installment in the series of middle-schooler Greg Heffley’s journals that brings him to Barnes and Noble at The Grove on Wednesday, Nov. 15 – keeps the humor coming.
Speaking from Miami in the middle of his biggest worldwide tour to date, the bestselling author says he aims to explore every aspect of Greg’s childhood before the series is over.
Think Greg comparing his sparse baby album with that of his older brother, Roderick, which details every first (“Dog Days”), or coming home in headgear as punishment for accidentally biting the dentist’s finger during oral x-rays (“The Ugly Truth”). And remember when Greg believed his life is secretly being filmed for television (“Double Down“) a la “The Truman Show?”
In “The Getaway,” the Heffleys escape the snow to spend Christmas on a tropical island where they experience a string of disasters, including traveler’s diarrhea, sunburns and getting stuck on the “Mild Side” of the resort when what they want is to be on the “Wild Side.”
The story is based on Kinney’s own nuclear family: He and his wife have two boys, ages 12 and 14.
“As a parent, you have this idea that as soon as the vacation starts then everything should be wonderful and you should be luxuriating,” he says. “Of course, getting to the airport and going through security is actually more stressful than staying at home.”
“The Getaway” marks the first time the characters get on a plane.
“What I really try to do with these books is see things through the eyes of a child,” Kinney says. “Everything about the boarding process and the flight and the safety video is alien to Greg, and a little bit scary.”
Kinney structured “The Getaway” like a film to make it easier to adapt should the book ever find its way onto the big screen.
“There’s always the hope we would get to make another film,” says Kinney, whose books have spun off four…