Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story (2010), by Adam Rex

The premise is wonderfully subversive of genre expectations: what happens when you are turned into a vampire, but you start out as an overly chunky, unpopular highschool student?  You become Fat Vampire… The problem, as reviewer Rob Bittner points out in conversation (although not on his blog), is that there is not enough emphasis placed on the fatness, and the unpopularity resulting from it, for Doug. Eventually, he even becomes attractive to his peers, vampirism power shining through his doughiness.  The plot does keep us guessing, in parts, and certainly the humour is at times howlingly successful.  The ending, however, feels like a cop-out on the part of the author. We are given a number of mutually exclusive scenarios for the future, and left to imagine which might be: no hints, no direction, no assistance from the author.  Perhaps in this post-modern world some readers might be satisfied with this; I am not. When an author creates characters and leads us with them through his constructed narrative, I expect the author to take responsibility for the characters and the world he has created, or at least give us enough information upon which to base an educated guess, even if not conclusive.  What Adam Rex has done is unacceptable, and ruined for me what was otherwise a very enjoyable romp through this modern-day Dark Shadows.


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