Book: Zombie

"Zombie"

Fourteen-year-old Jeremy Barker is obsessed with zombie movies. He attends an all-boys Catholic High School where roving gangs in plaid make his days a living hell. His mother is an absentee pillhead, his older brother a self-diagnosed sex-addict, and his father an ex-Marine realtor who disappears night after night without explanation. Jeremy navigates it all with a code cobbled together from Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead:

• Avoid Contact
• Keep Quiet
• Forget the Past
• Lock-and-load
• Fight to Survive

The code is put to the test when he discovers in his father’s closet a bizarre homemade video of a man strapped to a bed, being prepped for some sort of surgical procedure. As Jeremy—troubled but ever-optimistic—attempts to trace the origin of the video, this remarkable debut moves from its sharp, precocious beginnings to a climax of almost unthinkable violence, testing him to the core.

I picked up the book because of the title. I don’t think my love for anything zombie-related needs any more explanation. But Zombie‘s only zombie manifestation is through the movie titles it mentions. Not that it’s a bad thing. And it’s not as if the book was misleading in any way. It doesn’t say anywhere in the book’s back synopsis that there will be zombies. It does promise something more sinister though. And on that point, it does deliver.

It’s been some weeks since I actually read it, and most of the details of the book is murky now. And I’m the guy who can remember trivial things about almost any thing. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. I just tend to remember things. So I have to say, this book wasn’t that memorable. Save for the sinister undertones about Jeremy’s dad. Which, I have to admit, while it didn’t really blow me away, it did really deliver. I also did really like the love interest. I just can’t remember her name anymore.

So what am I doing posting about a book I can barely remember? Well, to tell you honestly, I’m trying to catch up on backlog. But then again, that’s not completely true. I have read a few books that I’ve decided I wouldn’t even bother blogging about anymore.

The real reason I wanted to put up a post about Zombie was that because I do think there’s something special about the book. The way the author dealt with the main character’s fascination with zombies, how said character uses the movies as a social crutch–and the way he unraveled the mystery behind Jeremy’s father, I really did think it was masterfully handled.

My only real problem with it is that most of what happens just… escapes me.

Maybe it’s the characters. Save for Jeremy’s dad, who is really intriguing; and the love interest that doesn’t do what most love interests do–none of the characters actually call out to me. Not even the main character. And then there was that one character that I really didn’t like. Whose name also escapes me. I just remember him being Jeremy’s male friend. Who likes chopography. Which I, personally, don’t think is an art form.

So why am I trying to ask you to go and read this book again? I can’t remember, for the life of me. But maybe the following reviews can help you out:
Opinionless
Horror News
Zouch Magazine and Miscellany

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