Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie

Cover Art: My Life As A White Trash Zombie

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland is funny, clever, and just the right amount of heart warming. I grabbed this book from the freebie table at Worldcon, thinking it would be good piece of pulp to read on the plane when they make me turn off my devices.

I'm also the type of person who must read something to turn off my brain before I can fall asleep. My phone needing to charge every night precluded me from working on the ebook I was in the middle of (and am still- Reamde by Neal Stephenson. It's good, but loooong). So, I started reading White Trash Zombie at night (okay, technically in the wee hours of the morning) during Worldcon. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much it drew me in. I was expecting something that was easy to read, not too brainy, and maybe decently plotted as well. And while that was mostly true, I also found a good story, with interesting, three dimensional characters. It even managed to take a few plot twists that I wasn't fully expecting.

The writing is comfortably colloquial without sliding into unnecessarily distracting vernacular. The narrator's voice is believable and easy to read.

"Yeah, right. I'm finally getting my life together. Too bad I had to die first."

Angel wakes up in the hospital after an overdose, to find that she's been given a job as part of her probation. A job at a morgue. A little grossed out, but determined to make the best of her second chance in life, she doggedly shows up for work, despite the deprecation of her alcoholic father, who tells her she'll never amount to anything. Given the title of the book, the reader knows that Angel has woken up a zombie, and yet watching as she realizes what has happened to her is still enjoyable.

This book treats being a zombie as a condition more similar to what we've come to associate with vampires, and it's an interesting mash-up of two of my favorite sub-genres. Angel retains her ability to think cognitively, but is still subject to the basic drive of generic zombies. And after all, if vampires can sparkle, who says zombies can't think? (For the record, this book is a much better piece of writing than the one where the vampires sparkle.)

At its core, this is your basic hero's journey. I for one maintain that there's a reason archetypes become archetypal. They work. And I will be picking up the rest of the books in this series... as soon as I finish reading Reamde.

Supplemental Viewing: This book mentioned on GXG

Youtube is giving me fits with trying to link right to the appropriate part- it should be at around 1:15:08

Additional Reading: Types of Zombies