Adam Rex: Fat Vampire

Adam Rex’s Fat Vampire is sly and slippery. Its title stakes a claim to the glamorous vampire backlash (along with Catherine Jinks’ The Reformed Vampire Support Group, perhaps). Doug expects becoming a vampire to make him happy, but it leaves him chubby, not well liked, and still tormented by unrequited crushes. Beyond that, Fat Vampire is hard to pin down. It’s a bit like one of those songs that leads you to expect a rhyme and then ends a line with a completely different word; Fat Vampire keeps setting up plot expectations and then delivering something else. Conflicts are established and sometimes dissolve, and sometimes return — it doesn’t have a plot arc so much as a plot corkscrew. I’d call it inchoate, except that Rex establishes (not least by having his characters analyze some other pop culture texts) that he’s deliberately playing with the conventions of the YA vampire tale specifically, and maybe even the novel in general.

There’s a lot of metatextual goings-on, but I don’t mean to suggest that the book is thorny or hard to digest. On the contrary, it’s fast-moving and sharply observed. I suspect anyone who’s ever been bullied will find it both easy and a little disquieting to identify with Doug and his revenge fantasies.

Side note: this novel features a reclusive, sardonic, hard-drinking gay vampire named Stephin. With an “i.” Hmmmm…..

needs more demons? no.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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