Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I can't tell you the last time I yearned for a really good zombie novel, probably because I've never yearned for any zombie novel, regardless of quality. So I can't explain what made me pick up Breathers: a zombie's lament by S.G. Browne. But pick it up I did, and I zoomed through the book with interest.
Perhaps it was because Breathers reads like a Nick Hornby novel. Recently-dead Andy is forced to live in his parent's basement, is unable to get a job, and has to follow a governmental curfew for zombies. Reanimating after a horrible car crash that killed his wife (permanently), he is unable to speak and must communicate via a dry-erase board hanging from his neck. His mother has a hard time hiding her revulsion, while his father goes out of his way to verbally abuse Andy - and you thought your dad was mean when you moved back in.
Or perhaps it was because there is a lovely romance between Andy and Rita, a fellow member of his zombie support group. Those first meaningful glances and the accidental brushing of hands together is so sweet, even if Rita does eat fingernail polish for its flesh-preserving formaldehyde.
Or perhaps because it contains underlying threads of tolerance, civil disobedience and finding your purpose in life. Andy's campaign for zombie rights is admirable, and you feel ashamed of the behavior of other 'breathers' towards these poor zombies (for a while, at least). And boy, author Browne sure isn't a fan of frat boys.
But perhaps it was because Browne has written a nicely-flowing story with likable characters and an interesting plot; it's not The Fountainhead, but it's got a lot more going for it than your ordinary summer novel. It sure will put you off steak kabobs, tho...

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