If I were more secure in my ability to be humorous and keep it up throughout the review, doubtless I’d review this book with the same serious tone it takes: this theory about zombies is intriguing, this one is confirmed by personal experience, this one is ridiculous, etc. Since I’m not particularly funny, I’ll refrain. It takes a deft touch to do it at any length, and I don’t think Max Brooks really succeeds here. It becomes just a boring catalogue of things — some of it is interesting, like various ideas on how to defend different types of buildings, different ways to arm yourself for best effect, etc. But because it’s modelled very closely on the survival guide genre, it remains mostly interesting to that crowd. I’d be interested to see a survivalist’s reaction to this book, actually.
Now, I’m not going to deny I have a zombie survival plan. It goes like this: “Find my dad as soon as possible. Ensure he is armed and we have food, water, and a stock of books. Let Dad protect me. Survive.” And yes, I’m that confident: my dad would survive a zombie uprising, and he’d put a bullet through my head before he’d allow me to turn into a mindless zombie. Draw whatever conclusions about my family you wish from that…
There’s some joke here about me getting into a mindless rage because I don’t have enough books vs. turning into a zombie and how you tell the difference, but I suck at humour, we’ve established this.
Anyway, the best part of this is the section of historical records of outbreaks, and that only where they’re more creative. By a certain point, they become repetitive, and the conspiracy theories are obvious without the point needing to be laboured. I’m sure there must be real records that you could use as evidence for past zombie uprisings, but I don’t know if Max Brooks incorporated any – that would require having the give-a-shit to look up each incident he mentions, and I don’t have it.