Sunday, September 30, 2012

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

"R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. Not just another zombie novel,Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

And here's what I thought:   I don't usually seek out zombie books, but I had seen a review of this one that made me think it went beyond the usual zombie-horror-coming after you to eat your brains kind of book .... and I was right.    As you can see from the summary, R is a zombie, but he's not mindless --- and what he thinks about, and his comments on his "life," are pretty thought-provoking at times.

The whole question of what makes a human a human, as far as conscious thought goes, is something considered in this story.   R isn't alive, but he has a life of sorts, where he hangs out and socializes with other zombies.   He does have a drive for nourishment, and yes, does munch on brains, but here's an interesting twist -- when he eats a brain, he gets flashes of that person's memories and personalities.   When he eats the brain of a young man, and then sees that guy's girlfriend, the whole story changes --- and nothing will ever be the same, not for R, or for the humans in this world that Isaac Marion has created.

I don't want to say too much, because I don't like to have spoilers in my reviews.   What I did like was that Marion gives us a world in which there has been some kind of huge catastrophe, and there is a population of humans, and a growing population of zombies ---- but the zombies have their own society, and their own rules of how they "live."   Marion injects some humor into R's situation,  and how he relates to some of the other zombies, as well.    So, it's not so much as a horror story, but a re-examination of how life can be defined in this world (the one in the story).   So, if you're looking for a different take on the whole zombie idea, maybe check this one out from your local library.   I won't say it was my favorite book, but it was something different from what I usually read, which was refreshing.

First lines:   I am dead, but it's not so bad.  I've learned to live with it.  I'm sorry I can't properly introduce myself, but I don't have a name anymore.  Hardly any of us do.  W lose them like car keys, forget them like anniversaries.  Mine might have started with an "R," but that's all I have now.  It's funny because back when I was alive, I was always forgetting other people's names.  My friend "M" says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can't smile, because your lips have rotted off.


Jenni Elyse said...

This actually sounds like something I might enjoy.

Kirthi said...

I'm not into zombie books either, but this is very interesting. I like how it questions humanity and what makes us human: it's a deep concept that I always enjoy reading about. But hmm...since I haven't got much time to read, I read only books with high ratings. I'll leave this one for later, thanks for the awesome review!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Good opening lines. I'm intrigued by the premise and a bit freaked by eating a guy's brains and finding out about his girlfriend! :0

Karen said...

I've been wanting to read Warm Bodies for awhile. I do love zombie books and this one sounds just a little bit different form the typical one.

Ashley Prince @ The Bibliophile's Corner said...

I don't think I've ever actually read a review for this book. For whatever reason, I always skimmed over them. But I'm glad I took the time to read yours.

Great review. :D

Jen said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'm still working on getting the "reply" to comment function to work .... but I appreciate the thoughtful comments!

I'm thinking of maybe trying another zombie book, just to see if I like it.

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