Sunday, 6 September 2009

‘My Rotten Life’ – David Lubar (Starscape)


This isn’t so much a review as it is a ‘mini-review’, the book weighs in at an almost unhealthily slender one hundred and forty eight pages long and it only took me a couple of hours to get through. This mini-review is also proof of the fact that I will read pretty much anything if there is the promise of zombies inside. As it turned out, ‘My Rotten Life’ was by no means ‘Night of the Living Dead’ but it wasn’t ‘Hard Rock Zombies’ either so that was ok...

Nathan Abercrombie is one of those school kids who are always getting picked on and he’s sick of feeling so low about it all. An experimental serum offers him an escape from these feelings but an accidental overdose sends things in completely the opposite direction. Our ‘would be hero’ has become one of the living dead...
Nathan discovers that this isn’t such a bad thing with a new found athletic ability and cool video game playing skills more than compensating for the fact that bits of him are now liable to drop off at inopportune moments. He would rather be human though, can this ever happen?

There are some children’s books that transcend the age gap and become books that adults will quite happily be seen with on the morning commute. You know the ones I mean. ‘My Rotten Life’ is not one of those books. A great concept (more on that in a bit) is smothered by a cloyingly sweet message about how being yourself will mean you are accepted by your true friends. This is great stuff if you’re a school kid like Nathan (who wants a hero to identify with) but it makes things really stodgy if you’re a guy who picked up the book because it had the word ‘zombie’ on the front. To be honest, I think this would make stodgy reading for anyone who has left their childhood behind them. Once you know how it’s going to end (and there’s no other way it can end) then you end up wondering whether to continue. Kids would love it though :o)

Having ‘paid my zombie dues’ on more adult fare, I thought it could be fun to take a fresh look at the genre through a younger perspective. I liked the way that Nathan becomes a zombie; particularly because of the scenes that it gives rise to when Nathan is searching for the ingredients to his cure. While ‘My Rotten Life’ isn’t a ‘laugh out loud funny’ book, there were moments that definitely made me chuckle.
The book didn’t do an awful lot to hold my attention though; I kept finding myself thinking thoughts such as ‘What would happen if Nathan bit Abigail or Mookie?’ and ‘Won’t too much video game playing make his fingers fall off?’ I guess I’m just used to reading different kinds of zombie books...

It’s always good to read something that you wouldn’t normally pick up; as well as discovering new books that you like it’s also a good way of reminding yourself of the good reasons why you stay away from other stuff. ‘My Rotten Life’ does its job well enough but the feeling I came away with was that I wouldn’t be missing out on much if I never went back for a re-read...

Six and a Half out of Ten

4 comments:

Cindy said...

I love looking at YA books or "young" reader books and seeing what is out there for kids.

phtreviews said...

After reading books that are 5, 6, 700 pages long, sometimes relatively short books like these are nice.

JS Huntlands said...

NEW RELEASE.... OUT NOW

Set in today’s day and time, Me and My Best Friend is about a young boy, his faithful companion and their exciting adventures.

Henry and Liam are the best of friends and they do everything together. They can run and play all day long. But when Henry the puppy gets tired and tries to take a nap, three-year-old Liam keeps waking him, wanting him to play some more. Will Henry get any rest?

Get your children involved with this beautifully illustrated book. Your child will love to match up words and pictures, and find Liam, who keeps hiding in his bedroom. Perfect for the young reader!




About the Author

J.S. Huntlands is the author of Nick Twisted Minds and is currently working on more books in this series, as well as 23 more books in the Me and My Best Friend series. Huntlands is a full-time writer, as well as a mom to a wonderful four-year-old boy. This book is dedicated to her son in hopes that he never forgets his best friend.

Rabid Fox said...

If nothing else, I love the cover. A scant read, maybe, but it sounds like it's right up my alley.