This article contains major plot spoilers! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul|
The book's official cover from the series' official website.
Abram Books (through Amulet Books) (US) Penguin Books (through Puffin Books) (UK)
U.S.A November 4 2014
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is the 9th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The book was released in the US on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 and released a day later in the UK and Ireland. A day after the book released in the US.
- Greg Heffley
- Rodrick Heffley
- Manny Heffley
- Susan Heffley
- Frank Heffley
- Mr. Beardo (Main Antagonist)
A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun... Unless of course, you're the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas Station bathrooms, a fender-bender, crazed seagulls and a runaway pig - Not Greg Heffley's idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure - and this is one the Heffleys will never forget.
The story begins with Greg, Rodrick, and Manny happily watching the TV since their summer break just started, when Susan comes to tell them that they are going on a road trip and to pack their bags. Greg then talks about how his parents had made a surprise trip before and that Susan had once told them they were going to Aunt Loretta's when instead they were going to Disney, disappointing Manny so they had to have both trips, postponing the Disney one. Greg then talks about the "Family Frolic" magazine from which Susan gets all her ideas and explains how they don't turn out well for the family. He then talks about a boat which Frank bought a few years ago, but never used for years and because he could not afford to winterize it, it developed cracks and soon became a storage zone where raccoons started to live in. They then get the stuff they need for the trip and start cutting what they don't need, but there is still too much of it, which they resolve by using the boat to put stuff in it, albeit the car is still cramped, but there is room.
On the first day of the road trip, Greg is forced to sit in the back with the stuff by Rodrick. Susan tells the family that there was a special visitor that is coming on the trip, then takes out Flat Stanley from her purse. She hopes to take photos of him in front of various places on their trip. Susan then puts in a Spanish CD so that they can learn Spanish, but they don't pay attention (except Manny). Susan later abandons this plan and started playing a game called "Alphabet Groceries", which Greg finds out that Manny can say whatever he wants with the letter instead of food from the grocery store since Susan states that Manny is trying to learn the alphabet and they all have to encourage him. (He wins by adding random letters to the word "apple" after Greg says "apple" and Rodrick quits.) Susan also created "Mommy Meal", which she thought were a healthier choice than what fast food restaurants have. When he and Rodrick find out the prize is some math flash cards, which neither of them like, Greg changes the game by picking up a random game. The game is called "I Must Confess". During the game, Greg learns a lot of information about his family that he never knew before like Rodrick got a bug in his ear (he actually remembers that one), Frank had a pet chameleon as a kid and Susan dyed her hair blonde one time when she was a kid. Rodrick actually won for getting a final point for toilet-papering a neighbor's house, but Susan has to give him the phone to apologize to Mrs. Tuttle.
Manny falls asleep, which when Susan finds out, they decide to stop for now (Greg tells about how he wished they had nap time in kindergarten when he was Manny's age). The family decides to pick their dinner up at the grocery store, but if they wake Manny up then he would have a fit. So, they have to drive slowly and Rodrick has to get out so that he can buy the things they need. After picking up the dinner, they search through motels. Eventually, they find a motel with air-conditioning and a pool, which is very run-down and dirty. The family was forced to have the final room where there are marks that are probably cigarette burns and a wet towel in their room. There is also 24-hour cancellation policy so they have to stay there. Since Rodrick bought snacks he actually liked instead of buying stuff Susan tells him for dinner, they had to eat Sugar Wafers and breath mints for dinner.
Rodrick and Greg decide to go swimming to spend time since there is nothing they can do to have fun in the motel. However, there is no water in the pool. They try the hot tub, but it is filled with a family, and the tub has a 15-minute policy. Bored, they go back to their room, only to find that everybody else is asleep. Rodrick easily goes off to sleep by making a bed with cushions. Greg decides to sleep in the closet, but at first, there is a smell that Greg can't stop, and then is suddenly woken up by a loud noise from outside. There is a bunch of kids from the hot tub who got hold of a cleaning cart. He goes out to confront them, but the youngest one starts to cry and runs back into his room. The kid then brings out his father, who made an angry look towards Greg, who runs back into his room and they don't notice which room he went to and to a wrong one. Greg then places a "Do Not Disturb" key for anyone who tried getting in. He nicknames the family "The Beardos".
After getting up, Manny watches TV and talks to the characters, and Greg finds out that the smell that distracted him the night before was Rodrick's shoes, and the "wet cloth" he tried to block the smell with was one of Rodrick's socks. After the rest of the family gets into the car, Susan decides to take the family to The Country Fair. While driving, they see the Beardos' van, who catch a glimpse of Greg, and the Heffleys park the car near the fair. Inside, Greg, Rodrick, and their father eat deep-fried butter on a stick then Greg and Rodrick go for the foulest footwear contest, their entry was Rodrick's shoe which won and was sent for the national contest, leaving him walking around with only one shoe. In the livestock area, Manny wins a contest where the person has to guess the closest to a hog's weight, which he guessed 243.1 which turned out to be the actual weight. The prize is a live baby pig and they can't return him back.
They have to empty a cooler to put the pig inside, as he had tried to escape. He makes friends with Manny and eats their left-over food. Then later they book a room at a hotel, but it has a no pets rule. They hide the pig and then take him out in the room. The pig goes crazy, opens the minibar, eats everything and also drinks some of the drinks of both the rooms of Frank, Susan and Manny and that of Rodrick and Greg. They later keep him inside to visit some places. Frank gets a call from an international client and asks the family to be silent, but then Rodrick chews gum which gets stuck in the sunroof, Susan snaps her fingers, Frank stares with his knees and the pig starts to suck on Manny's pacifier until Greg tries to take him out, when he bites him and tries to escape, then a tractor starts honking on them, and Frank finds that his call wasn't cut and his client was still on the other side. They later give the pig to a petting-zoo which makes Manny upset and he gets tempted to run away.
Greg needs to get to a doctor because his finger got bitten by the pig, but they can't find a hospital nearby, so they go to a veterinarian hospital instead, where Greg is registered as a "pet human". A doctor gives him an anti-bacterial ointment and lets him go, while Manny tries to escape again, but they buy a leash so that he doesn't run away. They later arrive at a town where they go to a restaurant, which has the best apple pie Greg had tasted in his life. During that time, Manny runs away for the fourth time but is caught by Frank. After freaking out in a pet cemetery (where they were forced by a funeral van), they pull over at a hotel and book a room on the seventh floor. But, since the sunroof was broken and they were worried that somebody will sneak in and take all of their stuff, they have to bring in everything they had packed.
After a debate on where they should go to the next morning, Susan thinks that they should go to the beach. After reaching the bridge with a large traffic jam, Frank and Rodrick switch spots, due to Frank's peculiar inability to drive over bridges across any body of water. Greg sees a seagull staring at him, and feeling sorry for it, he throws a cheese curl to the seagull. When he is about to throw another cheese curl, Susan stops him, saying that seagulls are aggressive, and to never give them "people food". But, the seagull comes to the sunroof, wanting more. Greg tries to ward it off with cheese curls, but unintentionally drives it into a panic, causing havoc in the van. The seagull eventually escapes with the bag of cheese curls, but is intercepted by nine other seagulls. This causes the cheese curls to fall back into the van. This prompts the seagulls to dive-bomb into the car in a chase, and chaos ensues, described by Greg as "a total nightmare". It gets even worse when their van crashes into a car which breaks their radiator. However, Greg sees that the Soak Central Water Park is a few blocks away, and begs Susan to go. Susan wants to do something "wholesome" like going to a library, but she is outvoted 4-1.
In the water park, they find only one seat available and pile up their stuff there. Rodrick and Greg go to play hide-and-seek, then to make sure that the seeker doesn't go underwater he has a paper in his hand so that if he goes underwater it would get wet, but Rodrick writes "I am not wearing a bathing suit" on the paper, which embarrasses Greg and makes people run away from him. Later he goes on the slide but gets in a fight with a woman and her boyfriend in a line, due to a boy behind him poking the woman in the butt with a pool noodle, whom he later escapes by hiding in the lazy river. Greg has had enough with the water after that and decides to go home. He finds that the Beardos had taken the chair, and their stuff was piled up somewhere else. Greg thinks he doesn't have the locker key and tells his parents about it. They have to ask a worker about it. Greg kind of remembers the locker number, which is 929, but when the worker opens the locker, there are no objects in it. Greg then thinks the Beardos were the thieves, but when they got back, the chair was gone and the Beardos' van drove away when Greg got to the exit. The family thought that their valuables were stolen by the Beardos Greg encountered at the hotel. The Heffleys call the police, but to no avail. Fortunately, their car keys were at the mechanic's and they go to the mechanic's to retrieve their car, but with their money presumed stolen, they cannot pay for the repairs. As a result, the mechanic uses sealant to temporarily fix the radiator. The drawback is that the car's heater has to run at full blast to prevent engine overheating.
While on the highway, a tarp covering Frank's boat loosens and the Heffleys' items begin falling out. They spend two hours trying to retrieve the contents, but many items are still missing. The family finds some loose cash in the car and buys nuggets from a fast food place for dinner. Then the family tries to find a place to sleep. Greg's father drives the car into the wilderness mistakenly believing that there was going to be a camping site in that area. The cinnamon rolls Rodrick had purchased previously, which were sitting on top of the car's operating heater vents (their car heater had to run at full blast due to the broken radiator), explodes, sending cinnamon bits onto the back of Rodrick's head. Rodrick panics thinking that the slime was his brains, and gets even more upset when Manny licks the stuff off his fingers. After a cleanup, the family finds a grocery store and parks in the parking lot for the night. They go to their hotel room and Frank is embarrassed by Mr. Beardo once he was caught using the bathroom. Manny tries to run away again, but is quickly stopped. They then encounter two Spanish-speaking men, who were helping them in a purple van, where Manny gets his pig back and they go home and it takes a while for things to get back to normal for the Heffley Family, but things ultimately do.
At the very end, Greg finds the locker number key in his shorts while he's going through his laundry, and realizes that he got the number wrong, which is actually 292. Greg says he has four options: 1.) Simply tell his parents the truth and face the consequences, 2.) Frame Rodrick by stashing the key in his laundry, 3.) Flush the key down the toilet, or 4.) Something involving the family's now-pet pig, but Greg hasn't figured that option out yet. It's hard for Greg to find out what to do next, leaving a cliffhanger ending for this book.
The book was adapted into Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (film), the first film in the series with a new cast. It was met with negative reviews, especially due to the casting change (most notably with Rodrick), as well as the lousy writing and jokes.
- This book is considered to be the start of the decline of the series by some fans.
- Fans of the series also consider this to be a soft reboot of the series, mainly due to the lack of other major characters such as Chirag Gupta, Fregley, and Holly Hills, Rowley's cameo, the wackier tone, and less continuity references and realism. This is due to the original audience of the books having grown up, and Jeff Kinney wanted to reboot the series to appeal to a brand new and younger audience.
- This is the second book in the series to not have Jeff Kinney's name in the middle of the cover, the first being the UK version and later version for Amulet Books of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever.
- This is the last book in the series to have a normal book texture design. Starting with Old School, all the books come with a reptile skin design.
- This is the first book where Rowley makes a minor appearance, in only one page (Page 25, where he was lying in bed and Greg was on the floor). The second is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway.
- In Page 150, Greg said that he went to a water park last summer but got rained out. Greg is likely referring to his family's trip to Slipslide Water Park in Dog Days.
- This is one of the few books where we see branded things mentioned on some pages. The other is Cabin Fever.
- This is the first book that covers only 1 month (June). The second is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway (which takes place in December).
- This is the first book where the main antagonist hasn't appeared in the previous books.
- This is the first time since Rodrick Rules that there are missing months from the previous book. Rodrick Rules misses July and August from the first book, since it starts from September, and it ends at June. May is missed from Hard Luck in this book.
- This is the second book where blood is shown (or mentioned) in the series, the first being Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, and the third time will be in Old School.
- This is the first book since Dog Days that take place during the summer.
- The scene when the family is helped by two Spanish-speaking men on Page 212 are one of the only times in the book series where the whole Heffley Family is shown to be happy.
- This book has three exclusive versions. The first exclusive version has two tag-bags, the second exclusive version has a road-trip bingo inside, and the third version comes with bumper stickers.
- In the scene where Greg's mom, Susan, accidentally turns on the Spanish CD on Page 121, the words coming out of the speakers mean to "Please speak more slowly." This could be a reference to the fact that Greg's dad is trying to talk on a phone, but since everything in the car is going wrong, he would be speaking very quickly to try to cover up everything around him.
- International edits:
- In the Spanish translation, Spanish was changed to English. However, they are not direct translations of the Spanish dialogue from the original English version.
- In the Hebrew version, Greg writes to Mark Twain instead of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
- In the Japanese version of the book, the bootleg copy of the untitled Underpants Bandits book with Leonardo da Vinci is written in Chinese instead of Japanese.
- In this book, it is revealed that Gramma has (or used to have) a cat.
- It is unknown what the Beardos‘ real names were, or their intentions. It is possible that they could've been mistaken and were a family that were trying to enjoy their vacation, the other possibility being that they, despite being proven innocent, could harbor hostility.
- The pig makes his debut.
- This is the fifth book in which Greg does not mention his Diary.
- Jeff Kinney was thinking of calling this book "The Way Way Back" but didn't because of the movie with the same name an actor said in this [video]. Also, Robert Capron, who played Rowley Jefferson in the first 3 "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movies starred in the said movie.
- It is revealed at the end that Greg had the key to the Heffley’s locker in Soak Central, proving that the Beardo family did not steal the key along with all the other possessions inside the locker. Greg becomes conflicted on what to do about it at the end, but this isn't spoken of in the next book.
There is a small 8 page sneak peek about Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.
- Some of the pages show Greg being taller than Rodrick, however Rodrick is shown taller in the rest of the pages (as well as the series altogether).
- Most characters are shown too short in this book, such as Rodrick on page 18.
- Greg's waist is too high on some pages.
- Rodrick is shown too tall on page 188 and Frank is shown too tall on page 211.
- The pig is transparent on page 213.
- When Frank tells the mechanic he'd mail him a check the Mechanic tells him he couldn't take an IOU. But Greg puts IOU in quotation marks. However he mentioned an IOU in Cabin Fever. This could probably be a continuity error.
- On page 26, it says in 2nd grade, Greg and Rowley sent their Flat Stanleys. However, in Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, it says Rowley moved here in fourth grade. This is a continuity error.
- On page 47, a part of Van Gogh's ear bandage was transparent.
- On page 210, the Spanish-speaking man in the baseball cap is wearing a collared shirt with a pocket, but on the next page, he's wearing a turtleneck t-shirt without a pocket or buttons.
Here is the video for The Long Haul (book version).