“I’m not a general or a colonel or a builder of cities. I’m just a corpse who wants not to be.”
I saw the film before reading the book – good thing? Bad thing? Either way, I really liked Warm Bodies – the zombie love story that takes Romeo and Juliet, twists it, squeezes it, and wrings it out to produce something frightening and heart-warming at the same time.
Told by R, this is the story of the world after a zombie apocalypse. And the fact that it is narrated by R, who is himself a zombie, a dead person who would normally stumble about groaning and looking for people to eat, is the best thing about this book. R does stumble about groaning, and he does eat people, but clearly, inside his head, he is still a person. He can’t remember his own name or what is life was like before he became undead, but when he “meets” Julie (after eating the brain of her boyfriend, Perry), he starts to wonder whether there might be more to life (after death).
“In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.”
Warm Bodies has a bit of everything. R’s inner voice is funny, both in his silent commentary and also due to the fact he isn’t supposed to have a voice at al. Who would have thought a dead person who eats brains could have such normal thoughts, or be attracted to a girl? There is also, of course, that tinge of fear – imagining living in a cramped city surrounded by giant walls, outside of which live flesh eating monsters who were once human, is a scary notion. And then there is the impossible love story – a young, beautiful girl and a voiceless zombie with bits of brain on his clothes is hardly a match made in heaven. I was eager to see how their relationship might unfold.
“I want to do something impossible. Something astounding and unheard of. I want to scrub the moss off the Space Shuttle and fly Julie to the moon and colonise it, or float a capsized cruise ship to some distant island where no one will protest us, or just harness the magic that brings me into the brains of the Living and use it to bring Julie into mine, because it’s warm in here, it’s quiet and lovely, and in here we aren’t an absurd juxtaposition, we are perfect.”
Heart warming, creepy, with genuinely likeable characters living in a scary world. Recommended as something that is both familiar, but also a little bit different.
“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.”