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Brains : A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker
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Brains : A Zombie Memoir (2010)

by Robin Becker

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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
A guilty pleasure. Clear, concise, and quick-witted take on the Zombie Apocalypse. Narrated by an English professor who retains the ability to think critically and quickly takes charge over a group of shuffling, talented (by undead standards) zombies. Undead Oprah makes an appearance. What's not to love?! ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
Told from the perspective of a zombie who finds he has the ability to think and to write, Brains was unexpectedly funny and very well-written. ( )
  hollishter | Nov 10, 2014 |
I picked this up during the height of the zombie craze in the used book basement of a local bookstore for dirt cheap. (It looked brand new but only cost a couple of dollars). I’m glad I got it so cheap, because this book failed to deliver the sympathetic zombies I was looking for.

The idea of thinking zombies who challenge the question of what makes us human is interesting and is one multiple authors have explored before. It’s not easy to make cannibalizing corpses empathetic. Zombies are so naturally not empathetic that to craft one the reader can relate to is a challenge. Without at least one zombie character the reader empathizes with, though, this whole idea of maybe zombies are more than they seem will fail. And this is where this book really flounders. Jack was a horrible person, and he’s a terrible zombie. And this is a real problem when he narrates a whole book whose plot revolves around zombies demanding equal treatment. Jack is a snob, through and through. It feels as if every other sentence out of his mouth is him looking down upon someone or something. This would be ok if he grew over the course of the novel. If his new zombie state taught him something about walking in another person’s shoes. But no. He remains exactly the same throughout the book. He has zero character growth away from the douchey snobby professor who looks down on literally everyone, including those within his own circle. This isn’t a mind it’s fun or even enlightening to get inside of. It’s just annoying. As annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard.

The plot is ok. Jack gathers other thinking zombies and heads for Chicago to find the man who created the zombie virus and convince him to advocate for them. Their standoff is interesting and entertaining. But the ending beyond this standoff is unsatisfying.

It also bugs me that this is a memoir written by this guy but it is never clear how this memoir made it into the reader’s hands. With a fictional memoir, I need to know how I supposedly am now reading something so personal. I also had trouble suspending my disbelief that a slow zombie managed to have time to write such descriptive passages crouched in a corner at night.

Overall, this is an interesting concept that is poorly executed with an unsympathetic main character. Recommended that readers looking for a zombie memoir pick up Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by SG Browne instead.

Check out my full review. ( )
  gaialover | Oct 28, 2014 |
So far I'm enjoying the book immensely! It's chock full of clever cultural references and clearly written by someone with a witty sense of humor. I'll have to wait and see if the story/plot follows in this way, if so... It could become a favorite.

Final thoughts after finishing: Everything above sticks but the book slowed, the clever writing and references were mostly sacrificed to an okay plot. Great book but I was disappointed that the finish wasn't as spectacular as the start. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Brains: A Zombie Memoir approaches the zombie novel from the perspective of a zombie narrator, and though the concept has been utilized a few times (with more or less success) it is still an interesting way in to the zombie story and can be a lot of fun.

I wish I could say that Brains made good use of the vantage point of the zombie to aids its very obvious intention to be humorous, but I just can't. It's an incredibly bland, cliche novel that relies on a lot of tropes and overused devices to try to force a chuckle out of the reader. The zombie in question is Professor Jack Barnes, who, once turned, sets out to try and find other zombies like himself -- zombies that can think and write like he can, so that they can convince the living to treat them equally and respectfully despite their cannibalistic nature. It is a scary concept in a lot of ways -- the thought of retaining all of my mental faculties despite your body literally rotting around you, unable to communicate to others -- but Brains doesn't ever seem to know where it stands and whether it takes itself serious or whether the entire thing is tongue-in-cheek. Because I didn't know where it stood on its own issues, I had trouble deciding where I stood on IT, and that coupled with the truly mediocre writing and poor attempts at humor really threw me off. It took me days to finish and I felt really let down. ( )
  vombatiformes | Apr 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Beckerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Iacobelli, James L.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"All goes onward and outward... and nothing collapses. And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier." - Walt Whitman, "Song Of Myself"
Dedication
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What you hold in your hands is a zombie memoir, the touching postlife story of a walking corpse and his journey toward self-acceptance and knowledge, told honestly and in the first person, straight from his skeletal hand to your plump one.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A novel set in a zombie apocalypse as it occurs in the early 21st century United States, narrated from the point of view of a zombie. ISBN: 978-0-06-197405-2, First edition, EOS, an imprint of HarperCollins publishers, height 8 inches, width 5 1/2 inches, depth 5/8ths of an inch. All measurements approximate. UPC: 9780061974052-51399. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $13.99
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After the zombie apocalypse, can zombies and humans live together in peace and harmony? College professor-cum-zombie Jack Barnes is determined to try, in this wonderfully stylish and humorous debut novel.

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