|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw|
The book's official cover.
Abram Books (through Amulet Books) (US) Penguin Books (through Puffin Books) (UK)
January 13, 2009
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw is the third book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. It was first released on January 13, 2009.
Let's face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg's father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other "manly" endeavors. Of course, Greg is easily able to sidestep his father's efforts to change him. But when Greg's dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up... or get shipped out.
The book starts with a new year and Greg talks about how members of his family are coming up with new year resolutions but aren't able to stick to them and how his brother Rodrick should have come up with a really long list of resolutions, but he didn't. Greg says that Frank has been staying away from sugar and how he's been cranky and Greg talks about how he came up with an idea which was wearing his mother's bathrobe. He then talks about how he reckons grown ups think that you don't deserve anything that is fun for Christmas and how he is getting "lame" gifts and the only thing he got close to a toy was a Laundry Hoop from his Uncle Charlie, but it ended up being a way for Susan to give Greg responsibility for his laundry, thereby being a chore.
Greg and Rowley had went to the bus stop and found a little piece of paper taped to the street sign saying that the bus route was rezoned and that the kids have to walk to school and Greg talks about how it is a bad idea to make kids walk to school and then later he talks about how his Dad hates teenagers and how his Dad's arch-enemy, the baddest teenager, Lenwood Heath was sent to Spag Union Military Academy. Then Greg talks about how Manny walks down from his room and joins Greg and Susan watching TV, and how he hates that his mom doesn't put Manny back to bed, then he tells that he wasn't allowed to go down at night when he was a little and Dad scared him with Shel Silverstein. Greg finds one of Manny's books and thought of writing one on his own and selling it to a publisher and get money, so he wrote Wise Up, Mr. Shropsharp!. Greg talks about how he is having problems watching TV and how he is trying to use the Force to have the remote levitate to him, he talks about how Frank wants him to work out.
One of Greg's classmates, Albert Sandy, told everyone at lunch about a person that was in Thailand or China who could jump six feet straight up in the air by digging a hole. Greg believed him and thought of digging a hole, but Susan won't let him, so he goes over to Rowley's and tells him about it, but Rowley said his parents will ground him if they found the hole, but Greg said they could cover it up with a sheet so they will not find about it until a long time. The ground was frozen solid and they hardly made a dent, after digging for a few minutes Greg gave the shovel to Rowley and made him do for extra time to make him think he was a heavy contributor. Greg saw a show on TV which was about Time Capsules, so Greg and Rowley came up with that idea, but Rowley wasn't giving anything away, Greg put in three bucks, Rowley thought he was making a sacrifice so he also sacrificed some of his gifts into the box. Greg wrote a note saying that he was the one who put the cash in because he thought the money will be worth a lot of money in the future and the person would travel back in time and reward Greg. Greg found that the bathrobe was taken away, his mother said she didn't take it, then he figured his Dad threw it out, because his Dad always throws away somebody else's things if he doesn't like it, just like he threw Manny's blanket, Tingy.
Greg got tired of walking to school so he took a ride from his mom but told her to drop him behind the school, because her car had bumper stickers that might embarrass Greg. But Greg forgot his bag and his Mom came and gave it back to him and even called him Sweetie which embarrassed Greg and he was also in the class with Holly Hills, a girl which Greg has been trying to make a good impression on. Greg then talks about how Holly Hills and how other guys are also trying to win her and Greg wanted to get her before some other person gets her. Greg then complains about how he doesn't like the walking to school idea and wants the people to at least install a ski lift, then Greg talks about how he takes naps all the time when he gets back from school and how it is affecting his grades as he has to do his homework while he watches TV. Greg talks about how his teacher Mrs. Craig's dictionary is missing and she thinks somebody stole it and as a punishment she is keeping everyone inside until the person returns it, some kids started spying on the kids who are using big words, Greg and a few kids asked the smartest kid in the class, Alex Aruda to find clues and get the thief. However, Alex told them they had to give him five-bucks first, so the kids pooled up five bucks and gave it to him and Alex showed them the dictionary and said he was using it for the spelling-bee in February, just then a kid called Corey Lamb grabbed the book and put it on the table, but the teacher saw him and thought he stole it and punished him. Mrs. Craig's punishment for Corey Lamb has to stay inside for recess for a few days. He will have Alex Aruda to keep him company.
Greg got two fruits in the first day. Greg talks about how he is not getting snacks besides fruit and someone is stealing them, this also caused Greg to sleep in his teacher Mr. Watson's class, his father said that whoever was caught would have no drums or video games for a week. Greg talks about how he is broke and how he used up his money on some things that turned out to be scams. Greg's mom got mid-session report card, Greg got scared and thought that when his dad would come home, he will scold him, so he asked Susan's mother to come over, then after dinner he went to bingo with her. Greg thought he had won but when the clerk came to check, she said that he messed up and his win was no good. Gramma asked him not to draw attention to himself, because the regulars don't like it when a newcomer wins. Greg flunked his science test and slept again in Mr Watson's class and as a punishment he had to sit in the front of the class, Greg slept there right away, but at the sixth period another teacher came in and gave Greg a detention. Greg was desperate to get sugar, so he went to Rowley's backyard and dug the time capsule out and took it home and with the three-bucks and the things inside he bought some snacks and played with some of the other things inside.
Greg, who's never had detention before, didn't know what to expect from it, but found that all you can really do is just sit there and wait for it to be over (which Greg feels is stupid, claiming that most of the students who get detention could really use the extra study time). The only open seat Greg could take was in front of one of the bullies named Leon Ricket, and whenever the detention supervisor Mr. Ray wasn't looking, Leon would do something like flick Greg's ear or give him a wet willy. Mr. Ray eventually catches Leon and tells him that if he sees him touching Greg again, he's going to be in big trouble. Knowing that Leon would go right back to bugging him once Mr. Ray wasn't looking, Greg slaps his hands together to make it seem like Leon hit him. Mr. Ray, not realizing the truth, tells Leon he has to stay another half hour and that he has detention again tomorrow. When Greg finally gets out of detention, he quickly makes his way home, afraid that Leon will pursue him.
Greg still wants to catch whoever is stealing snacks from the grocery bin, so he comes up with a plan: he hides in a laundry basket to catch whoever's stealing the food in the act, knowing that Susan, who usually does the grocery shopping, puts all the lunch snacks in a bin in the laundry room. Greg ends up falling asleep during the watch, but when he hears someone going through the food, he turns on his flashlight and the thief turns out to be none other than Greg's dad, Frank. As Greg's about to start chewing out his dad for stealing food from the bin, they hear Susan coming, and knowing what would happen, Frank and Greg take as many oatmeal creams as they can and made a run for it.
The next day, Greg's still mad at his dad for what he did, and plans on confronting him, but doesn't get a chance, as Frank gets in bed by 6:00 PM. The reason Frank went to bed so early was because he got depressed after running into Mr. Snella and Mrs. Snella and their new baby, Seth Snella, who's two months old (he was born in December). Greg explains that every time the Snellas have a baby, they throw a big half-birthday party for them six months later, and invite all the neighbors to the party. Greg claims that the "highlight" of every Snella half-birthday party is when all the adults line up and try to make the baby laugh while Mr. Snella videotapes them. Greg, who says he's been to every Snella half-birthday so far, claims that no baby-Snella has ever actually laughed and goes on to explain that the real reason Mr. and Mrs. Snella have that at the parties is because their dream is to win the grand prize on a TV-show called "America's Funniest Families". Greg also explains that Frank hates performing in front of people, and so far, he's been able to get out of having to attend the half-birthday parties thrown for the Snella children. However, Susan tells Frank that he has to attend Seth Snella's half-birthday party in June, and Frank realizes that he can't weasel his way out of this party.
The Valentine's Day Dance was announced so Greg went to his laundry and looked for clothes, he found an okay shirt and even though it had a jam stain on it, he still wore it. The dance starts at one in the afternoon---Greg explains that the dance was supposed to be held at night, but the school apparently couldn't get enough parents to chaperone the dance, and also explains that whoever didn't want to pay $2 for admission to the dance had to go down to "study hall" (which Greg explains was basically like detention). Initially, when the dance started, all the boys sat on one side of the gym and the girls sat on the other, and when no one went on to the dance floor, the principal, Mrs. Mancy, then said that everyone had to start dancing, as it would count for part of their PE-grade. This scares Greg, who claims to be really close to flunking his gym class, so Greg comes up with the simplest move that he can think of that would technically qualify as "dancing." While "dancing," Greg notices Holly and her friends dancing in a big group, and tries going over to then. Just as Greg's about to say something to Holly when she goes over to the refreshment table, Fregley pops out of nowhere, with pink frosting all over his face (Greg says Fregley might've been hyped on all the sugar from the cupcakes that were at the snack table), messing up Greg's chance to talk to Holly. Greg walks home, wanting to be by himself, but after dinner, his mom tells him that there's a Valentine's Day card for him in the mailbox. At first, Greg's hoping it's from Holly or one of the other girls at school he claims to "kind of like," but it turns out to be from Rowley instead.
Greg then talks about how his brother started calling him "Ploopy" every time and his mother just lets him say it. It was Easter and when they were going to church Greg's pants had chocolate over them, he wasn't going in, his mom made him wear her sweater like a kilt, during the basket handing, Greg put some money in the basket to make Holly think he is generous, but he realized he had put a twenty dollar note. Greg spotted his brother, Manny playing with his toys and called him Ploopy, Manny started to cry and kept crying, and the family couldn't stop him so they had to go away and everyone was watching them. Susan banned everyone from saying Ploopy after that. Frank made Rodrick enroll in an SAT Class and Greg sign up for Rec League Soccer, Greg got ranked Pre-Alpha Minus (Which he assumes is another phrase for "You Stink). They named themselves the Red Socks due to the team first having a plan for Red Sox, but a coach was worried Greg's team might get sued. Greg thinks suing people should do something better than suing a bunch of middle school soccer teams.
Greg says how he is looking for fresh clothes and how his underwear plopped out in the hall-way and everyone heard it when the principal got on to the intercom. Greg heard Holly is having a sleep-over and Rowley had invited him to join a kid from his karate class who lives in the same neighborhood's sleepover, Greg agreed thinking he would go and crash Holly's sleepover. Greg got the position "Shag" in the soccer team, which is getting balls that goes out of bounds. Greg went to Rowley's friend's sleepover and there weren't any kids older than six and Greg was getting bored, so Greg went up to the room and slept there,but the kids came there and had a pillow fight, so he went down and slept in the basement and Greg had forgot his sleeping bag upstairs so he had to sleep on the cold floor.
It was April Fool's Day and Greg says how he and some kids played a joke which was to make Chirag Gupta think he lost his hearing, but Chirag reported it to the vice-principal and shut down the joke. Greg was having his second soccer game, but they had volunteered an adult to shag the balls, so Greg was sitting on the bench and his father wouldn't even let him get his winter coat because he had to be "prepared" in case he was called out. Greg says how he has been out of clean underwear and has been wearing a speedo underneath and he got some Wonder Woman Underoos from his Uncle Charlie, because Greg liked comics and superheroes so Charlie gave those to Greg for Christmas. Greg, Mackey and Manuel agreed to bring some video games, but they were called on the action to block a free-kick, but they couldn't and the coach, Mr. Litch yelled at them. Greg became the substitute goalie and he didn't get a game, but he did get a game when the normal goalie was injured. But when the mid-fielder of the opponent team kicked a ball from fifty-yards, Greg was busy playing with some flowers and he missed seeing the ball and the other team scored and ended Greg's team's undefeated season bid.
Frank took Greg and Rodrick to the theater, the usher was Lenwood Heath and he had a crew cut and looked like he had graduated from the Air Force, when really it was a military academy, Spag Union. Frank seemed impressed with his look and had a conversation with him and made friends with him to the surprise of Greg, then Frank told Greg after the movie was over that he was signing him to Spag Union too on 7th June. Greg thought of joining the Boy Scouts so his father won't take him to Spag Union and he could quit soccer. Greg got signed to Troop 133 which has things like hot-dog roasts and pool parties much of the time, Rowley also signed with Greg and they both were given their uniforms. They went to whittling, but Rowley got a splinter so they complained and then the scoutmaster, Mr. Barrett, told them they could whittle with the soap and they easily passed that.
Mr. Barrett announced a father-son campout, Frank agreed to go with Greg, but Greg was sick so he couldn't go, but Frank had to go because signed up as a driver. At around 10:00 PM Frank called and told them he got put in the tent with Woodley brothers as their father couldn't come, Darren and Marcus were horsing around, and then Darren threw a football at Marcus and it hit him in his stomach and he fell down and wet his pants, Darren laughed, Marcus got angry so he bit Darren and wasn't letting him go. So Frank had to take Darren to the emergency room.
It was Mother's Day and Frank was angry about the father-son campout and was not looking to do any favors for Greg, so Greg ended up writing "and Greg" on Manny's gift which was a card. Greg asked Frank if he would go with him for a camping trip. Frank was okay with it. Susan was impressed and said Rodrick should also go because it will be a great bounding for them, which worries Greg as Rodrick had put hair in Greg's bed after Greg had photographed Rodrick getting his hair cut in a faded maternity dress. Greg, Rodrick, and Frank went to the campsite, it was raining six inches so they went to a hotel. When it was time to sleep, Frank went to the front-desk to complain about the heater, Rodrick told Greg that the Hills family was staying a room in front of them, Greg fell for it and Rodrick shoved him out of the door and locked it. Greg was stuck in his underwear, so he went off to the vending machines to find his Dad and he did find his Dad but Frank looked a little angry with him.
At church Greg's family got seated two rows ahead of Hills family in hand-shaking movement, Greg shook hands with Holly and when they went home he was about to call her, but Rodrick figured he was calling a girl so he took all handset phones and hid them, Greg told Susan and she made Rodrick return them all. Greg went to his parent's room and when he was dialing Holly's number his Dad walked in and started reading a book, so Greg hid under a duvet. Just then the phone rang and scared his dad, Frank angrily sent Greg to his room. Greg called her number again but his mother called Greg's number to see if he was calling anyone, Mrs Hills answered the phone, then she and his mother started talking. Holly was going to the Roll-A-Round so Greg asked his mother if she can drop Greg there, but Susan said she can drop him off but somebody else's parents were gonna pick him up so he asked Rowley to come, Greg lost his contact lens so he had to wear his three-inches wide back-up glasses. At the Roll-A-Round, Greg was having trouble skating and when the DJ announced Couple Skates, all of Holly's friends paired up, so Greg went to Holly to ask her, but then she said "Isn't your name Fregley?". This upset Greg and Greg told her he was Greg Heffley, but by the time her friends came and took her, Greg also lost interest in her and went to the arcade and didn't move from there.
It was the last day of school, Holly signed Greg's yearbook and said that he is OK and she will keep in touch with him, and she also wrote in Rowley's yearbook that he is cute and hoped for them to be friends one day, and as a result Greg thought it made his letter look lame. It was Greg's only day of summer holiday (or so he thought) and he had to spend it at Seth's half-birthday, they also had live-music, Loded Diper wanted to get hired but they turned them down and they even had a clown making balloon objects for little kids. Everybody ate lunch and then went to make the baby laugh, Greg was going to eat some cupcakes, his father stopped him and told him if he could find anyway to get him out of it, but Greg was letting him do it because he was planning on sending him to a military school.
But he didn't wanted to see him acting stupid in front of many people, so he was going home, he spotted Manny fishing around Seth Snella's presents and he found the one from the Heffleys and Manny found himself a blue knit blanket which he thought was another tingy, Greg was making him hand it over, but Manny threw it before Greg could take it and it landed on the branch of a tree. Greg climbed the tree, but he was wearing Rodrick's trousers and they were too big for him and they went down and he yelled for help and Greg was also wearing his Wonder-Woman Underoos and Mr. Snella taped it all, then Frank rescued Greg and thought he did it to save him.
The next morning, Greg was suprised that he woke up 3 hours after Frank was sopposed to send him to spag union. Greg want downstairs and found Frank, who was not dressed yet. Frank explained to Greg that he rethinked shipping him to spag union, which made Greg happy. He walked to Rowley's house before Frank could change his mind. They played twisted wizard 2 until they got kicked out, and then they got some popsicles and sat on the curb. And then a girl named Trista walked over to introduce herself, and then Greg thought about inviting her to a country club the jeffersons belong to. At the end, Greg said that he was running out of paper, so he just wrote "THE END" in large bold letters. And that was the end of the book.
- The Last Straw and Dog Days were mashed together in the third film, similar to how Rodrick Rules and The Last Straw were mashed together in the second film.
- If you study the illustrations on the introduction in the third film, you'd notice that it's full of animated illustrations from The Last Straw. There are no animated illustrations from Dog Days itself.
- This book has 6 months, making it the 2nd longest one, behind Diary of a Wimpy Kid by 4 months.
- This is one of two books where swear words are turned into symbols, the other being The Long Haul.
- This book revealed that Greg has eye contacts due to extreme nearsightedness.
- This is the first book in which Greg does not mention his Diary.
- This is the first book with the color green. Hard Luck was the second.
- On page 33, a sentence reads, "[...]we're gonna to be in college before this hole is ten feet deep." "Gonna to be" should be "gonna be" or "going to be."
- Susan says, "Right after your polish the silverware!' This error was fixed in later prints of the book, which use the correct word, "you."
- When Greg has his swim suit and kids laughed at him, there is no lines on the picture.
Here is the video of The Last Straw.