Audiobook Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diane Rowland

13 05 2013

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2013 Zombie Awareness Month

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

Read by Allison McLemore

Audible Frontiers

Length: 8 Hrs 44 Min

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Contemporary Zombie

Quick Thoughts: My Life a a White Trash Zombie is an engaging, coming to death tale. It’s an atypical zombie novel that focuses more on character than on any expectation you may have about Zombies. Diana Rowland’s tale is the rare zombie book that I would recommend to my non-zombie loving friends before my hordes of zombie enthusiasts, a fun character study, with a well executed bit of mystery and maybe even some romance along the way.

Grade B+

2013 Audie Nomination for Paranormal

I never started out as a big zombie fan. Little Bob wasn’t running around pretending to headshot all his little friends, or biting them in a hope to spread his viral infection. Little Bob had better reasons to bite his friends. When I first started to get exposed to the possibility of Zombie fiction, I was a bit hesitant. No matter what type of persona I attempt to foster, I am not a gore for gore sake type of guy. My least favorite scenes in Romero movies are the one where the gangs are getting their entrails ripped out by zombies, or the flesh is being peeled off the necks by the ragged teeth of a pustulant corpsebag . Now, there are some pretty awesome gory moments in Zombie movies and TV shows but, I am more interested in the story and characters then the flesh rending action. I came into Zombie fiction as a post apocalyptic fan and because of this I had a very myopic view of the undead and their purpose. Zombies were not supposed to be characters on their own, but set pieces. Their roles were to serve as the catalyst to the characters post apocalyptic adventure then shamble off screen until needed. I loved books where the zombies only came out at night, so the apocalyptic adventurers had a whole empty playground to do their looting and banditry in, then hole up and find some sort of protection from the undead at night. Then something changed. Maybe I was just going through a change. Maybe I was just suffering ZFS, Zompoc Fatigue Syndrome, but I wanted something more from my undead. I started reading books like Warm Bodies, Raising Stony Mayhall and Zombie, Ohio, where the zombies became characters. I read Dust and started to become fascinated by the idea of Zombie culture. I read The Reanimation of Edward Schuett and realized that zombies may have regret. This opened a whole new area of exploration for me, where Zombies can be more than set pieces, but can solve murders, fall in love and devourer the brains of humans. Well, some things need to stay the same.

When Angel wakes us in the hospital after an apparent overdose where she was found naked on the side of the road by a cop, she knew she had to change her life. When she received a mysterious letter telling her she had a job at the Coroner’s Office as a van driver and if she didn’t stick it out there at least a month she would violate her parole and end up in jail, well, she knew something was up. When she discovered a deep hunger for human brains, she begins to suspect the unthinkable. What exactly happened to her that night, and is it related to the recent string of beheadings that is plaguing her small town? Angel planned on finding out, just as soon as she procured herself enough human head cheese to calm her cravings. My Life as a White Trash Zombie is an atypical zombie novel that focuses more on character than on any expectation you may have about Zombies. I may have been a bit of a victim here of inflated expectations. I had heard so much about this novel that I was expecting, almost hoping to be blown away by it like I have been with some other spins on zombie tales. While I wasn’t utterly blown away, I found My Life as a White Trash Zombie to be an engaging coming of death tale. Interestingly, where I had the most trouble with the novel was the Zombie stuff. There was an almost incongruousness to the tale. When dealing with Angel’s plight to overcome her self fulfilled life as a loser, dealing with her abusive father and loser boyfriend and attempting to take pride in her new job, I loved it. Then I was reminded a little about small things like that she’s a zombie, who needs to find brains, oh, and someone may be killing people or zombies or something, I was like, OK, but is she going to find herself some affordable housing away from her douchebag dad? As a character study, I really, really liked it. As a zombie novel, I was a bit indifferent. It’s not that I don’t like different takes on Zombies, it was just that she really didn’t feel like a Zombie to me. She seemed like she was just this girl who happened to find that the label ZOMBIE most fir her current status.  Which wasn’t what I expected at all. Diane Rowland has created a wonderful protagonist who just happen to need to snack occasionally on human brains in order to not go roguey killey slaughtering all mankind, and of course, to have enough energy for sexy stuff. I’m, good with that. My Life as a White Trash Zombie is the rare zombie book that I would recommend to my non-zombie loving friends before my hordes of zombie enthusiasts, a fun character study, with a well executed bit of mystery and maybe even some romance along the way.

So, if you just read my review, and are thinking, "OK, Bob. That sounds good, but should I read it or get the audiobooks?" Good question hypothetical person who actually reads my review, simple answer "GET THE DAMN AUDIOBOOK!" Allison McLemore’s narration really makes this audiobook. It’s light and whimsical when needed, but full of depth as well. McLemore turns Angel from a theoretical construct that exists on paper, into a real not so living, so I guess not really breathing unperson. She gives Angel’s accent the perfect amount of sardonic southern twang without coming off as a bad redneck stereotype. The other characters in the tale were equally as effective, especially her sorta kinda boyfriend Randy and her various coworkers at the coroner’s office. McLemore’s performance is definitely worthy of the Audie nomination and kept me engrossed in this fun tale of a young woman who just wants to have some fun… and eat some brains. 

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