Review: Me and Death by Richard Scrimger

33. Me and Death by Richard Scrimger
Publication: Tundra Books; 1 edition (April 13, 2010), Paperback, 192pp / ISBN 0887767966
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Rating:
Read: February 19, 2010
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers program
Summary from Amazon:

The story of one boy’s experience with the (not so) sweet hereafter.

Fresh from having stolen a piece of fruit and taunting the grocer, Jim, a fourteen-year-old wannabe gangster, bully, and car thief, is run over by a car. What follows is a hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit to the afterworld, courtesy of Richard Scrimger, one of the country’s finest writers.

This is an afterlife peopled with unforgettable characters that might be drawn from video games: angry Slayers, tearful Mourners, and scary Grave Walkers. Jim meets them all and is given the chance to return to earth with the extraordinary gift of knowing what happens when we die. Now he must deal with living demons, including a neighborhood torturer and a truly creepy older sister. With imagery from the mean streets as well as the arcade, Me and Death is thought-provoking, exciting, sad, and funny — sometimes all at the same time.

This book will be released April 13, 2010.

Review

This is an interesting little book. It’s short, and there’s not much in it, but I liked it anyway because it’s a little slice-of-life thing with ghosts. However, I think it’s a little bit too short.

Because it’s so short, the moral never really goes beyond “don’t be a jerk or you’ll end up as a depressed ghost.” But does it need morals? Maybe it’s really just a view into a life of a kid who has bad stuff happen to him, where everyone is unhappy and ghosts show up. The story is a lot better if you don’t expect deep digging into the human psyche. But I did kind of want some of that deepness, especially since Jim goes pretty quickly from punk to prince. It would have been nice to have more description of that character growth, would have made it a bit more real and more punch-in-the-gut awesome.

It doesn’t end with a definitive solution to anything, but it does end with hope for better things. Jim makes good progress towards being a better person, but because it went so quickly in that direction I have the niggling feeling that he’ll backslide. I have no idea if there’ll be a sequel or not– it’d be nice to see what happens to everyone after that shocking ending– but I hope there is! It’d be a good chance for some more of that true character growth I want.

And

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It kind of reminds me of Dead Like Me, with the quirky humor and depressing dead people.

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