“ Author: Tim Collins / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 20 May 2010 / Genre: Humour / Subcategory: Parodies & Spoofs / Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books Ltd / Title: Diary of a Wimpy Vampire / ISBN 13: 9781843174585 / ISBN 10: 1843174585 „
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I purchased Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins on a bit of a whim - it was in the Amazon Kindle book sale, it was only £1.01 and I thought it sounded rather amusing and worth a go.
Nigel is a teenage vampire. He was turned age sixteen, and will always be that age, although technically he is 100. However, unlike his "parents" and "sister", the usual benefits of being a vampire - attractiveness, charm, speed and strength - seem to have bypassed him. Nigel is not only bottom of the pile when it comes to vampires, he's bottom of the pile at his human high school as well. During the course of his diary we learn about his family and vampire life, and of course his life at school - including his crush on Chloe.
Before I purchased the book I had a quick glance at the reviews on Amazon - and the one common thread between them was "Adrian Mole". Very soon after starting to read Diary of a Wimpy Vampire, I realised that this was spot on. It really is just like a slightly more modern version of Adrian Mole - only the narrator is a vampire. He is whiny, unattractive to girls, prone to writing rubbish poetry and moaning about his family. I read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole when I was a teenager, and unlike many people I don't recall being blown away by it - it was a reasonable read but not brilliant as far as I was concerned.
And this is exactly how I feel about the vampire version Tim Collins has come up with. It is mildly amusing at times, and you feel sorry for Nigel, but he is not a hugely engaging or even likeable character. I found it hard to care if he got the girl, and his whining was rather irritating. It is also very repetitive - with the exception of the occasional event to distinguish one day from the next, the central themes of Chloe, Nigel's annoying family, his lack of vampire attributes and his general moaning get a little tired.
That said, it is a quick read, complete with a number of pictures - pencil-like drawings, obviously designed to appear as if Nigel has drawn them in his diary (I read the Kindle edition as I said, so perhaps the text of the printed edition is also more handwritten in style). The style and the story are rather simplistic and very straightforward.
It is only near the end of Diary of a Wimpy Vampire that there is some action. The twist in the plot did actually surprise me, and I was surprised that I was surprised - most of the book is very predictable. I expect I was so caught up in the predictability of Nigel's mundane life that I didn't expect anything much to happen. The ending is reasonably exciting but it loses some of this excitement due to the diary-style nature of the narrative: Nigel recounts the events after they occur, reflecting on them rather than simply living in the excitement of the moment as we would were the novel in standard prose narrative.
Diary of a Wimpy Vampire is not a bad book, but it's not brilliant either. While much teenage vampire/supernatural fiction is suitable for and enjoyed by adults, Collins' novel does not fit into this category. It is a book for younger readers, and I would say young teens/pre-teens at that.