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

by Robin Becker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2451669,849 (3.24)6
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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I was expecting something fun and witty. An easy read, and fun escape into a zombie world. Instead, I got a pedantic and self-congratulatory mess of a book that had no clear direction of where it was headed. It meandered like a zombie sorely in need of a bullet to the brain.

The overall premise of the book had potential, and it would have been refreshing to look through the zombie trope from a different lens. However, our main zombie character, Jack, is such a revolting douchebag that anything interesting that happens throughout the story is tarnished from his opining over it. Jack is your stereotypical YT with a PhD, and you won't for a minute forget it because he spends most of the book telling you he's a professor and as such above the masses, those plebs.

The lack of self-awareness Jack shows would probably be hilarious, but it quickly becomes apparent that Becker genuinely thinks her character is wry and arrogant, and not just your run of the mill asshole. Because of his pedigree and PhD, he sees himself as savior and messiah to the zombie population, and goes on to essentially see himself as the Moses to his zombie brethren.

The closest we see to Jack getting any character development is when he finally gets to meet the creator of the virus, zombie daddy Stein, who proceeds to tell Jack that there will never be a human-zombie peace as Jack had hoped because zombies can never override their base desire of eating brains. Jack then eats him. Because he has will and choice, and chooses to eat brains.

The writing of the book is chock full of puns, and attempts at witty one-liners, but it quickly loses its charm. Its also funny that Jack spends most of the book deriding anything remotely popular, "popularity proved inferiority, not worth," when Becker makes of point of using several pop culture references via book classics, authors ranging from Poe to Tennessee Williams, and pop culture icons like Oprah (without naming her).

I wanted to like this book, but the narrative style and self-congratulatory feel that Jack, and by extension Becker, exudes throughout this book was too much.

1/5 zombie treatises ( )
  catwithwifi | Aug 5, 2017 |
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 |
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 |
**This review is of an Advanced Review Copy, not the product released for purchase.**

This is a different take on the traditional zombie tale. Man gets bitten by zombie. Man becomes zombie. Man realizes that although he is now a zombie, he still has his personality, can think, and can write. Man searches for other zombies who have retained some kind of intelligence and proceeds to have existential discussions with himself. Once he has gathered a small group of "soldiers," the main character leads them to find their maker, a scientist who unleashed the zombie virus upon the world.

This story has a great beginning, a great ending, and a really fun premise. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to get through the middle. I'm a big horror fan. I'll devour a classic Stephen King novel or a Dean Koontz novel in less than a day. "Brains" was just too much for me. I could handle the descriptions of cannibalism, but the violence against small children made me want to stop reading several times. I slogged though, even though it literally made me feel sick. Plus, the literate zombie's internal musings got very repetitive and bordered on annoying. I know he's not supposed to be likable, but he wasn't even entertaining. However, when I talk to library patrons about reading, I tell them that it's important to every now and again read something they don't like because it will help them identify and appreciate their literary tastes. I didn't want to be a hypocrite.

Take out the baby scenes (at least the human baby scenes) and cut out a lot of the drivel in the middle and you've got a great short story. Something tells me that this started out as a short story and the author decided to flesh it out (ha ha) and make it a novel. She should have left well enough alone. ( )
  britbrarian | Aug 1, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (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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