Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Okay, I’ll be honest, I never heard of this book. Even if I had, I probably wouldn’t have read it since I’m not the biggest fan of zombies. Maybe it’s because I saw “Night of the Living Dead” back in the seventies and I really, really disliked it. So…like I said…not a fan of zombies. Then I saw the trailer for this movie and my mind was changed in an instant. My daughter and I exchanged looks, “Must. See. This. Movie.” So during the Christmas rush when I was trying to find stocking “stuffers” for my kids, I picked up this book for my daughter (well, after Sandie convinced me to!). Only I changed my mind, got her another book, and kept this one for me. Upon discovering that I had this book, she took it, and proceeded to read it before me. I don’t know when she ever read a book so fast (except maybe Deathly Hallows, but that’s another story). So I eagerly anticipated reading this book and it did not disappoint!
Despite being Isaac Marion’s debut novel, it is remarkable. From the very first page you are hooked on protagonist R’s story. You actually care about R. Yes, you find yourself really caring about a zombie. When he and Julie meet, you are immediately drawn into their relationship. You find yourself rooting for their friendship and then for the love that is blossoming between them. What is even more compelling are the thoughts and commentaries about life, society, civilization, war, family, and love that Marion interweaves amidst this tale about a zombie in a post-apocalyptic world.
The movie will open in theaters everywhere on February 1st. That’s where I plan to be that night. I hope that it doesn’t let down fans of the book. Do yourself a favor though and read the book before the movie. You will be glad you did; I know it won’t disappoint.
“I want to change my punctuation. I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.”
“In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.”
“Music? Music is life! It’s physical emotion – you can touch it! It’s neon ecto-energy sucked out of spirits and switched into sound waves for your ears to swallow.
“I crush her against me. I want to be part of her. Not just inside her but all around her. I want our rib cages to crack open and our hearts to migrate and merge. I want our cells to braid together like living thread.”