Posts Tagged ‘diana rowland’

Book Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

October 3, 2011 9 comments
Image of a digital book cover. A white woman with a gray tint to her skin has a white mohawk with pink tint on the ends. Blood drips from her mouth. She has a tattoo on her arm.

Angel wakes up in the hospital to discover she was found naked and overdosed on drugs on the the side of the road in her small town after a fight with her boyfriend, Randy.  Someone mysteriously drops off medicinal energy drinks along with a note that she must work loyally for at least a month at a job newly acquired for her at the city morgue.  A high school drop-out living with her alcoholic and periodically abusive father, Angel decides that she should seize this opportunity.  It certainly helps that pills and alcohol no longer seem to do anything for her.  As her oddly gloppy energy drinks start to run out, though, Angel finds herself having cravings for something found in the morgue–brains.

I bought the kindle edition of this book the instant it came out as a birthday present to myself for two reasons.  First, the title is amazing.  Second, look at that cover!  Yeah, the whole thing just screamed my named.  My instincts were right, too.

It’s been a long time since I read a book that hits all the elements I love in literature like this one–urban fantasy style horror, a setting that rings familiar to me, a completely relatable main character, and a fun love interest.  It’s a world that’s simultaneously familiar and special, which is what makes urban fantasy fun.  Angel’s world of trailers, beer cans, and nothing to do reminds me a lot of my childhood growing up in Vermont.  On the other hand, Angel has cravings for brains.  And she somehow manages to keep this a secret in a small town, certainly a monumental task.

Angel’s problems are a combination or fantastical ones (must find brains to survive) and completely real world ones (a history of an abusive mother and a father with alcoholism).  Angel has a lot to overcome even before she gets zombified, but the zombification adds an element of distance that allows tough things to be talked about without that dragging down dullness often found in literary fiction.

Rowland reworks the zombie trope without completely removing the essentials of a zombie.  Angel can function in day to day life as long as she has brains once every two days or so.  If she doesn’t have them though, her senses slowly dull and she gradually turns into the lurching monster simply desiring brains that we all know from the classic zombie movies.  This really works, because it allows Angel to be a part of society, yet still be the monster we’ve all grown to know and love.

That said, I will say that I am getting a bit tired of the monsters surviving by working in a morgue trope.  I wish Rowland had come up with something a bit more creative for how Angel gets her hands on brains than that.  It’s starting to seem like the staff of the morgues in all of urban fantasy consist entirely of monsters and sociopaths.  Thinking more outside the box would have made me love the book instead of really liking it.

Overall, this zombie book gave me thrills, chills, and laughs galore, but it also brought me close to tears.  It’s genre fiction with a heart, and I highly recommend it to anyone willing to see zombies (or white trash) in a whole new light.

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4 out of 5 stars

Length: 320 pages – average but on the longer side

Source: Purchased

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