Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review—Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

Breathers book coverNot as successfully satirical as Christopher Moore nor as gross as Chuck Palahniuk, Breathers by S.G. Browne manages to elicit some chuckles about the how the undead try to make it in the world of the living.

Andy reanimated in his coffin at his funeral, and his parents felt obligated to sponsor him by taking him into their home. Andy left his young daughter an orphan when he slammed his car into a tree after drinking too much, killing himself temporarily and his wife permanently.

No one knows why some corpses reanimate, and it's tough deciding what to do with them. They can't hold jobs because who's buying anything a smelly, decomposing zombie is selling? They have no rights because they're technically not alive. People are free to hurl obscenities at them, throw perfectly good food at them from their cars, and attack and kill them (again) without any legal ramifications.

Andy attends Undead Anonymous just to get out of his parents' wine cellar every week, but he can't participate in the group discussions because his larynx is crushed and he's still sporting stitches from where the embalmer sewed his lips shut. He bathes in Pine-Sol, but he's still embarrassed about his graveyard odor.

But he eventually makes friends with some members of the group: Rita, a beautiful suicide who eats makeup hoping the chemicals will stave off rot; Jerry, a girlie magazine enthusiast; Tom, a vegetarian whose arm is stolen during a fraternity hazing; and Ray, whose wife went missing and who generously shares jars of preserved mystery meat with the group.

As Andy starts venturing out of the wine cellar and onto the streets, he feels the weight of zombie injustice on his shoulders, and becomes a mouthpiece for the civil rights of the undead. Then he and his fellow Undead Anonymous group start healing in miraculous ways. Now with two heartbeats per minute, will he risk his second chance at life and the awful prospects of being shipped off to a zombie zoo or losing his head to a teaching college to become the Martin Luther King Jr. of zombies?

There are some laugh-out-loud moments and some repellent moments that will turn you a nice shade of zombie green, but Breathers shouldn't be missed by fans of the popular zombie genre.


The Official Home Page of S.G. Browne

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