Before I knew it, the vile creatures were jumping on me and scratching me with their tiny claws. As I ripped them off and threw them to the ground, more came forward. It was only when I ran out of the park that the foul vermin ceased their attack and returned to standing on their back legs and glaring.
I’ve heard of vampires being attacked by packs of wolves and snakes before, but never a load of mangy squirrels. Why does it always happen to me?
(from Notes From a Totally Lame Vampire, pages 136-137)
I bought Notes From a Totally Lame Vampire for The Girl (age 11) for Christmas 2010. She went to the World War II section with my husband to shop for me, so I started browsing on my own. The title jumped out at me right away, and when I saw that it was written in diary form, I knew I had to get it for her since she loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries books so much. Never mind that I cracked open the book, read the first page, and laughed aloud, drawing annoyed stares from the teens sharing the aisle with me.
The Girl finished this book the other night, and when she brought me the notebook paper on which she jotted down her thoughts, she insisted that I had to read it. I took her up on the offer because I definitely needed a laugh and a break from the depressing war-related books I’ve been reading lately. Notes From a Totally Lame Vampire by Tim Collins (and amusingly illustrated by Andrew Pinder) is 329 pages, but reads quickly and is quite engrossing, so much so that I devoured more than half of it on my morning commute and finished the rest on my lunch break yesterday.
Nigel Mullet is forever trapped in the body of an awkward 15-year-old boy, having been taken out of an orphanage and transformed into a vampire by his “parents.” He is nearing his 100th birthday and hasn’t yet had a girlfriend. He’s no Edward Cullen; he doesn’t boast super-human strength or have special powers, and he’s barely average looking according to the popular girls at school.
Instead of sparkling in the sun, he develops rashes and burns. He hates gym class and is tormented by the teacher, Mr. Jenkins. He doesn’t feel the need to apply himself in school because he’ll just repeat the same grades over and over again, and his parents don’t want him to showcase his musical talent for fear he will draw too much attention to the family — never mind the fact that they wear clothes from the 19th century. He’s not even strong enough to hunt for human blood on his own, relying on his parents to bring it home for him. Moreover, he’s sick of his rebellious younger “sister,” who annoyingly blasts teen pop music and gets everything she wants from their parents, while he is told that they can’t draw too much attention to themselves by spending a lot of money.
Much of the diary involves Nigel whining about his pathetic life and pining away for the new girl in school, Chloe. Although he likes Chloe as a person, Nigel admits that he thirsts for her blood, and he nearly gives away his secret when the smell of her blood and the sound of her heartbeat cause his fangs to descend. The romantic poems he writes in his diary that profess his love for her and his thirst for her blood are hilarious. How can Nigel get her attention without the smoldering good looks that all other vampires have to attract the opposite sex? Will he ever get the courage to ask her out? If he has to be a vampire, why can’t he be a normal one?
As you probably guessed, Notes From a Totally Lame Vampire is like Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Twilight. The jabs at Twilight, Count from Sesame Street, and vampire lore are hilarious. I’m sure lots of kids can relate to Nigel in that he is unsure of himself, a bit embarrassed about his family, awkward around the opposite sex, frustrated with his younger sibling, and wishing he was stronger and better looking. Although readers only see Chloe through Nigel’s eyes, we can see that she’s smart, caring, and mature, and we can understand why he likes her. She’s no Bella Swan, that’s for sure! The Girl and I are both hoping to read the sequel, Prince of Dorkness: More Notes From a Totally Lame Vampire soon. This definitely isn’t a book to take seriously and is perfect for a day when you need to laugh…and realize that maybe your own life isn’t half bad.
Here are The Girl’s thoughts on the book:
*Funny all around, but I have to say the funniest part is when he meets Chloe’s parents and has a funny way of getting rid of the dinner since he doesn’t eat “human food.”
*I think the book is well written. My favorite quote:
My sister has build a snowpire using carrots for fangs and a trash bag for a cape. I thought my parents would tell her off for exposing our identity, but they seemed to think it was the most adorable thing they’d ever seen. As ever, it’s one rule for me and one rule for my sister.
Dad said it was the only vampire he’d ever seen that really would be destroyed by sunlight, and then he laughed at his own stupid joke. (page 83)
*I really like how you feel this book is just days from his “totally lame” life, but the twist is something you wouldn’t guess.
*I think Nigel is funny but sometimes he got annoying when he went on and on.
*I would love to read the sequel to know what happens even though this book doesn’t leave you hanging.
© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.