Recently I have been seeing trailers for the movie Warm Bodies (in theatres February 1), which is based on this book. They were interesting and amusing enough that I decided to pick up the book. Wow, am I ever glad I did.
Warm Bodies is a zombie story and a love story, all told from a zombie point of view. Our hero is R, a zombie who doesn’t remember his name or anything about his life or death. All he knows is that he’s a zombie. He and a bunch of his zombie cohorts live in an airport where he rides the escalator, hangs out in the bar with his ‘friends’ and plans hunts with the others. In his head, he’s pretty articulate. When he tries to speak, not so much.
One day on a hunt R and his friends encounter Julie and her boyfriend Perry. R eats Perry and when he tastes the other boy’s brains, he gets a shot of his lifeforce and Perry’s memories (most of which involve childhood sweetheart Julie). Almost immediately something changes in R and he is compelled to take Julie away and save her.
Over the rest of the course of the book, R undergoes miraculous changes. He begins to develop strong feelings for Julie, some based on Perry’s memories, others based on, well, whatever it is that attracts us to other people. And the more he gets to know her, the more he listens to Perry’s insistent voice inside of him, the more human he becomes. More importantly, the changes in R begin to spread to the other zombies.
Soon Julie returns to the walled up city built in an old stadium and R must decide if he can let her go, if he can change and ultimately, what makes someone human.
The book is often riotously funny (there’s a particular scene where R and his friend M eat saved brains like their drugs and their exchange is pretty hilarious), it’s sad, it’s suspenseful and it’s wonderful. It asks deep questions about what the meaning of living versus life is and how powerful love can be. The answers, from a zombie point of view or a human one, are worth uncovering.
I give it a very enthusiastic 4.5 stars and encourage everyone to read the book and see the movie, which comes out today. I certainly can’t wait to see it translated to screen.
Buy Warm Bodies