Review: The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz

The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz
The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz by Alan Silberberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think that the title of this book says it all–a fun, quirky and sometimes exaggerated story of best friends getting into the weirdest imaginable situations.

The storyline is pretty simple, embellished with quirky characters and imaginative “what if” possibilities. The writing style is also well suited to younger readers with its acessible, easy vocabulary and light, comedic tone. However, this doesn’t mean that older readers won’t enjoy the simple humour. A couple of well-crafted lines made me smile (“The school bell rang, putting an end to lunch but not their hope”). Scattered throughout the chapters are small black-and-white cartoons to supplement the text, adding to the goofiness of this grade school adventure.

Considering that the story is obviously meant to be taken lightly, there weren’t too many things plot-wise with which I had issue. However, I do think that the book contains some underdeveloped life lessons. While the book does introduce some important concepts, such as bullying or talking to girls, I personally found that none of these were fully dealt with. For example, in the beginning Matt’s brother is presented as a jerk and kind of a bully to his own little brother, but seems to experience a change of heart. Is that because of the cartoon, or because he’s realized what he’s been like (the brothers never actually talk it out)? I also think that the concept of consequences (to one’s actions) could have benefited from a stronger contrast between the “before” and “after” circumstances, moreso in Craz’s situation, to better show that the boys actually realize why things are better as they were/that things won’t become perfect with the pen. In Craz’s case, did he ever really consider what it meant to erase his family from his life, or was he just glad to not have to move to China?

In general, this is an entertaining read that is similar to (and I’d say a step above in terms of content, length, vocabulary, etc.) Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but with a bit more imagination.

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