Review of My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland. Zombies meet humorous urban fantasy in My Life as a White Trash Zombie. Unlike most urban fantasy our protagonist Angel Crawford is not hyper-competent, but rather a bit of a looser. She really do not have her shit together.
My review of My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
My Life as a White Trash Zombie is funny and has a lot of character development throughout the book. It is a good procedural seen from the morgue side of things. Angel Crawford is a white trash self proclaimed looser who has become a brain eating zombie.
My review from 2013 of My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
I just finished reading Diana Rowland other series the Kara Gillian series and am now waiting for the next book in the series to come out. While I wait for that, I thought – why not check out what else she has written. It turned out that what else she had written was crazy white trash zombie novels. I was rather skeptical at first. I don’t like zombie fiction, but My Life as a White Trash Zombie kept turning up. Picking this book up was probably a case of the “you need to hear about a book 3 times to pick it up” rule. People on my podcasts had talked about it and Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont and Jim C. Hines had all given it positive reviews, since I respect their opinions and trust their taste in books I decided to finally pick it up. Plus have you seen that cover! Totally awesome – more urban fantasy should look like that.
Boy was I glad I picked up My Life as a White Trash Zombie. It is so unusual and it is really awesome. It is rather unusual to have a protagonist who is that low class in speculative fiction – especially a woman. She is unemployed, a pill head, a high school dropout, lives in a rundown house, is in a dead end relationship, a dead insane mother and has an abusive father. Moreover we are not meant to feel bad for her, she does not really feel bad for her self. She know her life is shit and she does not expect it to change. Of course it does throughout the novel, but she does not go from rag to riches. That is not what the novel is about. It is about Angel finding her own agency and figuring out that she does not have take crap. Also she eats brains smoothies (so icky -yeah)
The worldbuilding is not amazing. I could have done without the romance plot – it isn’t interesting enough to be a great plot point. The zombie law feels kosher but of course plays a little bit with the tropes. And yes she does eat brains – so 80s – but it works. Again brain smoothies.
An unique voice
This could sound really depressing, but it isn’t it is written rather humorous with a very clear and strong voice. I have a few quotes that I wrote down while listening to the book.
“I couldn’t figure out if I was a monster or insane, and I couldn’t figure out which was worse.”
“A brain a day, keeps the rotting away”
“I was a monster with a mussy heart”
I think they illustrate the tone of the novel and Angel’s voice. It is really unusual in a none-noir book to have a narrator who has this level of contempt for her own life, but starting out without the agency to change anything. I think Angel is a fantastic example of what we are talking about when we ask for strong female characters. The protagonist does not have to be kickass to be a strong character, she can be flawed and damage, but she has to be well developed and she has to at some point in the story find her own agency. I really like Angel’s interactions with other people. She does not expect other people to be nice to her, but she is rarely mean or unpleasant herself – she is a great example of how to write a character with a low level of trust.
The narration of the audiobook of My Life as a White Trash Zombie is great! Allison McLemore has an accent speaking as Angel that really adds an extra dimension to the voice. I am not from the US so I have no idea of it is genuine for the area, but it seems very real to the outsider.
I thought was the ending of the story was by far the least interesting part of the book. It did feel like she needed to wrap things up rather than the natural ending to the story. The ending did seem a bit forced – like she ran out of space and had to finish tie up all the ends a bit too quickly. It is not a bad ending, but it wasn’t great either.
Over all review
If you think zombies are becoming boring, read this one! It is unusual and makes you look at things a bit differently.
My Life as a White Trash Zombie was awesome, and I’m definitely getting the next one. It was funny and clever and uplifting and it had an amazing voice! Also the narration was really great! If you think zombies are becoming boring, read this one! It is unusual and makes you look at things a bit differently.
The stats: My Life as a White Trash Zombie
Published: 2011 by DAW
Length: 320 pages
Read: September 10 to 11, 2013
Narrator: Allison McLemore
Author: Female, white, USA
The protagonists: Angel Crawford, female, white, lower class
Setting: Outside Louisiana, USA
This review was originally posted: September 11, 2013. Updated and edited July 1, 2023