Summary: September

Middle schooler Greg Heffley’s mother gives him a journal to write and draw in. Greg agrees to use the journal so there will be a record of his past when he is famous someday. Greg analyzes middle school popularity and describes the weirdos, nerds, and bullies he encounters. He tells the story of the Cheese Touch, a version of “cooties” that happens when someone touches a slice of cheese left on a basketball court. He describes his older brother, Rodrick, who plays tricks on him and plays drums in a heavy-metal band called Löded Diper; his younger brother, Manny, who gets treated like a prince and calls Greg “Bubby”; and his best friend, Rowley, with whom he shares a love of video games. 

Greg tricks Rowley’s dad into letting them play violent games by hiding games in Manny’s preschool CD cases. When Greg uses headphones to listen to Rodrick’s CDs, ignoring the parental warning labels, he gets caught and punished with a video-game ban. At school, Greg decides to run for class treasurer, but his posters—which criticize his opponent—get thrown in the trash by the vice principal, and his campaign ends.