Diary of A Wimpy Kid was in the works since 1998, when Jeff Kinney first came up with the idea for the character Greg. Kinney spent several years writing jokes revolving around Greg and workshopping the character, but it wouldn't be until 2004 when Greg saw the light of day. In 2004, Kinney started publishing comics featuring Greg on the website where he worked, Funbrain.com. They picked up a serious following, and Kinney signed a book deal to turn the comics into a graphic novel in 2006.
This book became a bestseller overnight when it was released in 2007. It is written as Greg's diary, spanning his entire school year, from the first day through the last. Greg is a funny, imaginative, and fairly self-centered middle schooler who is mainly interested in video games and girls, and a lot of the drama in the story comes from Greg's misdeeds. Like with a lot of other entertainment for young adults, it's both fun and informative to see Greg behaving badly. We can find some fun in the irony of him thinking he's doing what's best, and learn from the mistakes he makes when navigating his teenage years and his friendships.
The quick success of Diary of Wimpy Kid spawned an entire series of books, and Kinney has added an entry to the series every year since the first one was published in 2007. That series has remained a constant fixture on the New York Times bestseller list and been turned into a series of Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid is also a sign of its times: it was released at a moment when both Young Adult fiction and graphic novels were gaining much more mainstream visibility than ever before, and if the book ever loses its appeal to kids, its significance as the marker of some lasting literary trends will likely never go forgotten.