The only slight negatives here are a few bad actions—people stealing some quarters from arcade machines, playing a shampoo prank and tipping over a camper. (Though none of those actions are praised.) And there are small toilet-y giggles that show up in the form of RV toilet backwash, skunk spray, dizzy-barfing camp activities, a discussion of the use of wolf urine and kids coming up with an underwear-focused punishment. But all of those things, when sketched out in an over-the-top diary entry with near-stick-figure drawings, feel far lighter and goofier than they would if portrayed with real people.
In fact, even though The Deep End spools out a summer of little disasters for the Heffley family (along with numerous funny situations we can all identify with), it also focuses warmly on how a loving family can find fun and togetherness in the midst of the troubles of life. The tale also notes that even if you think your bad situation would take a miracle to save, sometimes little family miracles do indeed happen.
The Deep End also has some witty things to say about our silly desires to have “perfect” pictures for our “perfect” social media accounts. And there are one or two mentions of good parents finding ways to keep kids from being glued 24-7 to their screens—and why that’s a good thing.
Overall, there’s really good fun here. And it’s stuff that adults will enjoy, too.
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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, hopefully equipping parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.
Review by Bob Hoose