Nigel Mullet is a teenage vampire. He has been for almost a century. But his condition doesn’t give him stunning good looks or superpowers, and talking to girls is as difficult for him as it for any awkward teenage boy. Will he be able to win the heart of Chloe, the girl of his dreams?
If the cover hadn’t clued you in, Diary of the Wimpy Vampire is a comedy, and pretty funny one at that. Nigel Mullet’s earnestly self-pitying narration brings to mind the pathetic hippy Neil from The Young Ones. Much of the book’s humour relies on the fact that sucking blood is like sex for Nigel Mullet. An example of this is his extreme irritation at his mother entering his bedroom while he stares at a picture of the human heart. His fangs also come out whenever he is aroused by the thought of blood. Other sources of comedy are Nigel Mullet’s angry reactions to the vampire stereotypes he sees on television, and his poetry is so terrible that it would put Cairo Jim to shame. My favourite was The Hunter on Page 24.
At first glance, the most noticeable thing about Diary of a Wimpy Vampire is its somewhat unconventional page design. Under all the writing there are faint horizontal lines, like in an exercise book, and there are also pen illustrations drawn by Andrew Pinder. I don’t know if we’re meant to think that Nigel Mullet drew these pictures into his diary, but either way they nicely provide some excellent characterisation. This book draws heavily from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which I’ve never actually read, but the page design is good even if it is derivative.
The thing that bothered me the most about Diary of a Wimpy Vampire was the bit where Nigel Mullet listed the way in which his experience of vampirism differed from its popular media portrayals. Every single vampire in literature seems to do this sooner or later, expositing to the reader whether or not they can go outdoors during daytime, turn into a bat, and eat garlic before calling Dracula silly. While I appreciate that authors need the freedom to tweak the rules in order to tell an effective story, I think that by now most readers are familiar enough with vampires that they can be shown which particular rules apply, not explicitly told. But seeing how overtly expository vampires are a problem in the entire vampire genre, it’s unfair to hold it against this particular book.
I also caught two typos, and I’ll demonstrate how uncharmingly pendantic I can be by describing them. The book’s back cover contains an excerpt that refers to the object of Nigel Mullet’s affection as Della, while within the book the same scene plays out with Chloe. The second was a page break inside the word ‘I’ll’, which I guess is excusable seeing how it’s meant to be teenager’s diary. Neither typo significantly disrupted my reading experience, so I’m really just mentioning them to show that I’m a perceptive reviewer.
Diary of a Wimpy Vampire is a perfect book for lovers of Twilight who have a sense of humour, horror fans who are sick of vampires and kids who love Halloween. For some reason, I’m convinced that this would be the perfect book for anyone who is too sick to go to school today. This a great little novel for readers of all ages.