Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney Puffin We have grown used to the sight of adults reading books aimed at a younger audience. One critical explanation is that “young adult” writers provide narrative pleasures that so-called mature novelists tend not to. Boring old things like plot, character and (whisper it) jokes. All are present in Double Down , the 11th instalment of Jeff Kinney’s bestselling series for young adults. The joke is that our boring hero, Greg Heffley, is anything but. After a riff turning The Truman Show into The Heffley Show , Greg wonders: “If it’s all fake, the least the people in charge can do is give me some juicier storylines to work with.” His solution: “How about Greg gets a girlfriend?” Or “Greg gets a motorcycle? Or Greg gets a girlfriend and a motorcycle?” In fact, Greg directs a horror movie, in part to fulfil his parents’ different visions for him. His father wants him to be social; his mother wants him to be creative. She gives him US$20 for a book fair and expects him to buy books. But “when you get the chance to own a giant pencil with googly eyes, though, it’s kind of hard to pass up”. J.M. Coetzee could learn a thing or two.