Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Racehl Renee Russell is a doodle diary styled after Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but aimed firmly at girls. This book targets an elementary grade audience, but is about the middle-school scene. It is the first book in a wildly popular series that has hit the New York Times Best Seller list.
The book is a journal/diary of Nikki and covers her first month attending a new exclusive private middle school on scholarship. The typeset is Skippy Sharp so it looks like it has been handwritten and it is liberally illustrated with Nikki’s drawings and an alarming number of smiley faces and exclamation marks. Nikki as an individual is materialistic, self-centered, hypocritical, shallow, and not a very loyal friend. Unfortunately, she doesn’t grow much as a person, but then again, it is only one month. The plot line is predicatable and thin because the emphasis is on the format of this book rather than the content.
As a lover of middle grade fiction, I just couldn’t find anything to love in this book. It was hard going and took me four weeks and a lot of determination to complete. However, talking to a young relative she said she loved it because it was written from a kids’ perspective. (If Nikki represents a typical kid’s perspective, then I am seriously concerned.) This is a popular series and the format seems to be irresistible to kids so although there isn’t any substance there, it will continue to be gobbled up by eager young readers.
Profanity/Language: 1 derogatory name
Note: There are several times that the abreviation “OMG” is used and a few times when “#@$%&!” is written.
Violence/Gore: A character bites another character; a character kicks another character.
Sex/Nudity: There is a reference to celebrities not wearing underwear.
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcohol / Drug Use: