Meet R, a young, inquisitive, witty, music-loving guy who also just so happens to be dead. R recalls nothing of his past life, only that he was once human and then something (obviously horrible) turned him into a brain-eating creature. Regardless of his poor communication skills which consist mainly of grunts and slow nods to his friend M, R has a cunning and intellectual mind. While wandering around his home in an old airport, R contemplates if this is all his existence will ever be: shuffling around, moaning and wondering who he is.
Enter Julie, daughter of the Army Colonel, and girlfriend to Perry, whose brain now serves as R’s most recent meal. When R sees Julie in one of the zombie ambushes, something in him snaps. He smears blood across her face to hide her human scent and brings her back to the airport, where he resides in a vinyl-filled 747 airplane, permanently grounded on the pavement.
What blossoms between R and Julie is one of the most tender and “awww”-inducing connections I have ever read. There are so many fantastic themes in this novel, from love and acceptance, to the overcoming of traumatic experiences, to the future of our world and how we value our place in it. With wit, humour and true heart, Isaac Marion creates the most sympathetic and lovable zombie you have ever read or seen.
On a personal note, I proceeded with caution during this read after watching Marion engage in a battle on Twitter a few weeks ago, over genre stereotyping. The argument of whether or not this novel is Fiction or YA has surfaced and resurfaced many times. To be honest, I read it, I really enjoyed it and I couldn’t care less what genre the book is classified under. It was gorgeously written and R’s discourse often felt like poetry. I stopped to reread lines like the one at the beginning of this post over and over. Simplistic, but so picturesque! Can you actually imagine being surrounded by a crowd of people in complete and utter silence because their bodies make no noise at all? What a haunting image.
And of course, the film. I loved it! Though there were certain more gritty and dark themes from the book taken out for the movie production, I felt like the film truly captured exactly what I loved about R, Julie and M. R’s expressions were so spot on, I felt myself smiling for the majority of the movie.
All in all, this is a book & movie combination that is definitely worth the attention. Prepare to fall in love!