Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bookshelf, Library Bag, or Donation Box

In Bookshelf, Library Bag or Donation Box, our Tators give their verdict on the books they read, whether they're keepers for the shelves, one you borrow from your local library, or just give to your local used bookstore.

Love and Zombies by Eric Shapiro is a fun, hilarious, and horrific novella about Henry, a struggling producer in Los Angeles, who is convinced to help his friend Sam on a job he was offered from his dad. Seems simple enough. However, the job is to go to Las Vegas to meet with some seriously bad individuals who want the two friends to drive out to desert to find a living female zombie. Henry only accepts the job because he had believes that the government has already taken care of the zombie epidemic and there are none left. Even so, Henry feels concerned and conflicted because the guys who hire them want the female so they can create a zombie porn. Not only that, but they want a female who has been bitten, but hasn’t quite turned yet, which means the two friends must find a female, see that she is bitten by a zombie, and then bring her back to be held against her will to be filmed having sex, aka. raped, while turning into a full-fledged zombie. Suddenly, this job isn’t simple at all.

In addition to Henry having issues, and a conscience, about the task they are on, Henry has a girlfriend named Teresa, and a serious addition to strip clubs and strippers. Henry and Teresa have experimented together in threesomes with strippers, and now Henry feels like he may be addicted to the extra stimulation, and finds that he is less attracted to Teresa, who happens to be drop-dead gorgeous, because he can’t stop thinking about the strippers. While in Las Vegas, Henry worries that Teresa is seeing other people while he is gone, that he will be unable to keep himself from cheating on her in the casinos, and that he will die before telling her he loves her.

While reading, I found myself frustrated with the first half of the story because of the job itself. Not until more than halfway through the novella does anyone finally call what they have been asked to do what it actually is: rape. They talk about bringing an unwilling participant to a hotel to film a porn. They talk about having a female zombie chained and in the porn, but not until far into the story does Henry actually use the word “rape,” which is clearly what they have been hired to do. For a large portion of the complete ordeal, Henry’s only concern is whether he will actually see a zombie, and if so, will he survive the encounter.

In addition, I struggled with this book at times because I felt like it was unreasonable that Henry would just blindly go along for the ride with his friend, on an asinine mission that he is completely aware is immoral and deplorable. However, from the beginning, Henry tells us, the readers, that he is not a good person and that we shouldn’t like him. But between the moments where we want to beat him upside his head, he does things that actually make us like him. It was these moments in the book that kept me reading.

Verdict: Library Bag

Love and Zombies is a great novel for a short weekend trip, a plane ride, or when you just need something to get you reading that doesn’t need much serious thought. It is funny, twisted, and difficult to put down, but not because it is the best book ever written. The disturbing nature of the topic piqued my interest enough to want to find out how the passengers on this train wreck come out in the end. A fun read, worth your time, but not your money.

*Advance copy of Love and Zombies provided by NetGalley.

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