Book Review

Book Review: Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie by Jeff Norton.

Memoirs‘My name is Adam Meltzer and the last thing I remember was being stung by a bee while swinging at a robot-shaped pinata on my twelfth birthday. I was dead before the candy hit the ground.’

Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is narrated by the hilarious Adam Meltzer – pre-teen, worrywart, and now zombie. Adam’s family gets the fright of their lives when he turns up at their door . . . three months after his funeral.

Soon Adam’s back at school trying to fit in and not draw extra attention to himself, but when he sees his neighbour Ernesto transform into a chupacubra, and the beautiful Corina (Adam’s number one mega-crush) turns out to be a (vegan) vampire, undead life is never going to be the same again.

A hilarious adventure caper – if Ferris Bueller met Shaun of the Dead – all about friendship and being yourself . . . even if you’re undead.

Sometimes I look at my bookcase when I’m trying to choose my next read and find myself yearning for something that’s completely fun. On these occasions I always start looking over the Middle Grade titles I have waiting for me, this is almost always where the funniest books on my shelves can be found. Everything I’d heard about Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie made me think it was going to serve my desire for a fun read very well indeed.

Adam is a really engaging lead character, he’s funny and self-deprecating without either feeling over done. I found his frustrations with returning to his life to find out how much of it has already changed both touching and amusing, the way Adam just got on with things worked really well. I also enjoyed the introduction of his two fellow non-humans; Corina the vegan vampire and Ernesto the chupacubra. All three have their own issues with their supernatural side, I felt this made their burgeoning friendship all the stronger. I very much liked that the chupacubra was included – it’s nice to see some of the lesser used supernatural species get a little attention from time to time.

There is a great quest aspect to this book, Adam doesn’t understand why he is a zombie and decides to find the bee that stung and killed him. I learnt something from this element of the plot – I’d always been under the impression once bees stung they died, a quick search taught me this only holds true for honey bees. Once I’d educated myself I got straight back to reading, willing the trio on as they tried to track down the responsible creature. The way this all plays out is very satisfying, I really enjoyed that whilst the quest is for the answers Adam’s looking for both Corina and Ernesto also get to develop a lot throughout its progression.

The book contains lots of footnotes, something I have very mixed feelings about. I’ve read books where they’ve been really badly done and had a hugely detrimental effect on how I’ve felt about the book. When they’re done well though they can add a lot to the reading experience and the footnotes in Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie are done really well. They added a lot to Adam’s character and often made me laugh.

This is the first of Jeff Norton’s books that I’ve read, despite being very aware of his hugely popular Metawars series I’ve never picked one up to read. This was a great introduction to his writing and I now have every intention of catching up. In the meantime I’m going to be purchasing a few copies of Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie as gifts over the next few months – I have some young readers in mind who I know will love this as much as I did!

Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is published by Faber Children’s Books. Whilst I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher all opinions expressed are my own.

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