I’m not a zombie guy—no interest in them whatsoever. I’ve watched the zombie craze in pop culture, observing from afar, and simply didn’t get it. So when a hardcover came out a while back featuring a storyline about zombies overrunning the world, I quickly dismissed it.
Last week, my friend told me about an incredible book called World War Z. I said, “Isn’t that a zombie book?” He said yes, but then quickly fought to overcome my bias with reasons why I would love it.
After just mere minutes of describing the book, he had me soundly invested. I got my own copy the next day and had World War Z finished inside of a week (remember I work full time and write on the side, so a book in a week is pretty fast for me).
World War Z completely won me over because it was written as though it belonged to the nonfiction genre. The author presents a narrator who conducts a series of interviews years after a pandemic global outbreak of a zombie virus that nearly drove humanity into extinction. The interviews are typically only a few pages long and focus on military leaders, doctors, scientist, and regular citizens literally from all over the world. The reader then has the pleasure of piecing all these interviews together in order to get a broader sense of an epic story.
The sheer imagination of the author, Max Brooks, is staggering. He truly considered every possibility with World War Z. The ideas he presented as fact were absolutely plausible, and at times you forget you’re reading fiction. I caught myself thinking, “Okay, what would I do if I were in this situation?”
Furthermore, the zombies were almost secondary in the book. Brooks focused more on the human reaction to possible extinction, and the power of fear that can overcome us all. But he also emphasized the human will to survive, and the motivation to triumph in any sort of adversity. And while I wouldn’t call this a political book, I believe Brooks made a few statements about our current geopolitical climate if you read between the lines.
It’s not all roses, though. I loved the book, and I literally could not put it down, but I must admit it was probably about fifty pages too long. Near the end, things started getting a little repetitive. Not enough to quail my enthusiasm for World War Z, but it could have stood a little trimming up.
To sum up, Brooks’ imagination and style have won him a loyal reader. Remember, I’ve been telling everyone I know to read this book about zombies, and I hate zombies!