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Miss Reader

Every book is a new journey to embark on. I mainly read romances, but I dabble in other genres too.


Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

Breathers: A Zombie's Lament - S.G. Browne

I read Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament in about a day. It’s an entertaining novel, but it falls short to being outstanding, which is sad, because it had so much potential to being something original in the zombie genre.

Most of the jokes that Andy, the main zombie character, makes are stale and unwitty. However, there were some genuinely funny moments for me, but it had to do with events in the storyline and not jokes that Andy makes in his narrative. One of them was when Andy and his zombie pals were trying to take back Tom’s arm after some fraternity boys stole it. They get an arm back, but it isn't Tom’s. It's another zombie’s arm, which is shorter and hairier than Tom’s, but Tom gets stuck with it anyway and ends up having two different arms on his body. Another funny moment was when Jerry, another of Andy’s zombie friends, reveals his craft project: He used pictures from Playboy magazines to transform the walls of his bedroom into the Playboy version of the Sistine Chapel.

There were too many pop culture references. Throughout the novel, Andy makes a lot of references to tv shows since most of the time he stays in his parent’s basement, and all he can do is watch tv and drink wine. These references were just annoying and not funny and didn’t have anything to add to the story other than just being references for someone to recognize.

All of the characters are flat. I never got a sense of who Andy was. He basically is just a zombie trying to find a life after his undeath. I would have liked to know what kind of person he was before he became a zombie. All I knew was that he had a wife and daughter and cared for them very much and that’s it.

The storyline was pretty good and was what kept me reading this book. I liked how the zombies were not mindless creatures, but are just people who are undead. It was a believable scenario to me that zombie’s would have to fight against prejudice and for civil rights. However, the world-building is weak. In the novel, zombies have been coexisting with humans for a long time. If this were the case, I don’t think zombies would be treated like they were in the novel with people freaking out and hating them so much that they throw food at them. I didn't understand why they would hate zombies so much. Treating them simply as outcasts would have made more sense to me, and I believe there would also be people who are fascinated by the undead.

This would have been a whole lot better without the zombies eating human flesh cliché that comes into play in the last half of the book. It takes away from the book’s social commentary, which I think is the strongest quality of the novel. I was drawn in by how Andy coped with his life as a zombie, and it was compelling when he thought about his wife and how their relationship wouldn't have been the same if she did survive the car crash and he was still a zombie. When he and the rest of the zombies started eating human flesh, (Not only did they eat Andy's parents, but they also ate homeless people, because ha ha nobody would notice.) it undone any of the sympathy the first half of the novel builds, and the ending just turns out to be the same old zombie uprising.

In general, it's an amusing novel, but I wanted a more meaningful take on zombies than just a dark comedy with zombies.