Ellen’s review of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Garcia Felt the same way got into the hype and was let down the same way.


message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I hated this book. I felt I hated it because it was very interest specific and I couldn't attach myself to any characters. I really enjoyed your review because it makes me realize why I didn't like it.


message 3: by Joe (new)

Joe Garcia Lisa wrote: "I hated this book. I felt I hated it because it was very interest specific and I couldn't attach myself to any characters. I really enjoyed your review because it makes me realize why I didn't like..."

I liked his review better then the book lol


message 4: by Melanie (new)

Melanie I was going to write a review but this one said exactly what I thought! Very disappointed in it.


message 5: by Russell (new)

Russell Clank I notice you somewhat justify the fact that the characters all sounded the same, with "There are two issues that killed it for me. Firstly, most of the characters had the same--or similar--voice. Of course this is partly to do with the fact that the voices all originate from the mind of one individual, the author." That's no excuse. Plenty of authors have the ability to vary the voice of their characters, either with dialect or mannerisms. It's hard, but, for a book making this much profit, should be undertaken.


message 6: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Russell wrote: "I notice you somewhat justify the fact that the characters all sounded the same, with "There are two issues that killed it for me. Firstly, most of the characters had the same--or similar--voice. O..."

Hey Russell, I completely agree with you! I wasn't attempting to justify the author's lack of imagination, just pointing out that this is likely the reason why it is the case. If I were to add a value judgment to it, though, I'd say that it's apparent he just didn't have the talent or wherewithal to overcome his own mind's singular voice. And I, too, find it inexcusable. cheers!


message 7: by Russell (new)

Russell Clank Ellen wrote: "Hey Russell, I completely agree with you! I wasn't attempting to justify the author's lack of imagination, just pointing out that this is likely the reason why it is the case..."

If I could like your comment, I would, lol. From the looks of it, we're on the same level, and you've got good skills in seeing these sorts of things. I don't really care very much for Max Brooks' though, he's got ideas, but there are many writers who are far more talented that don't get the same fame. As far as I'm concerned, he just wrote a few books about zombies. Not novels. Books. In modern society, it seems that it doesn't matter as much about how good the writer is... Rather... It's more about what the writer can drill into, and market to select individuals.


TimeyWimeyBooks I seriously just want to cut and paste this as to why I am not at all impressed, LOL.


message 9: by Camille (new)

Camille I wholeheartedly agree with this review!


message 10: by Krystle (new)

Krystle I definitely agree! I was really excited after all the hype online and then....disappointment. Think my biggest problem was getting interested in one person's story then getting cut off.


message 11: by Mark (new)

Mark I actually listened to the audio version of this book for that reason. Reading personal stories and opinions would all sound the same if I had read them. Listening to the book was without a doubt the way to go as all of the voice actors did fantastic jobs playing their characters, and with that in mind no 2 of the personal accounts sounded similar.


message 12: by 06BraedonR (new)

06BraedonR They all have the same voice because its a interview that being writen by a reporter...


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex Essentially the review boiled down to the fact that the reader doesn't like to read interviews and finds them to be lacking in story telling prose.

The reviewer made a great attempt at sounding like an intellectual but didn't really offer any valid reasons as to why the book merited 1 star. Furthermore if you think that Q and A "dispenses" with classic story telling then you have no business writing book reviews.


message 14: by Ellen (last edited May 02, 2012 06:15AM) (new)

Ellen Mark wrote: "I actually listened to the audio version of this book for that reason. Reading personal stories and opinions would all sound the same if I had read them. Listening to the book was without a doubt..."

Mark wrote: "I actually listened to the audio version of this book for that reason. Reading personal stories and opinions would all sound the same if I had read them. Listening to the book was without a doubt..."

Alex wrote: "Essentially the review boiled down to the fact that the reader doesn't like to read interviews and finds them to be lacking in story telling prose.

The reviewer made a great attempt at sounding li..."


Wow, Alex, so much...I dunno...vitriol! We are on a *book review* site. This is simply my opinion of this book. Reviewing a review is slightly ridiculous (what you have done) especially when your comments are simply ad hominem snipes. It seems like your review of MY review boiled down to the fact that you don’t think people are entitled to a different opinion from your own. Not a super classy route, though I’m sure you’re probably pretty cool (you read books, too! :)), plus the internet can make people sound like bigger jerks than they intended. PS- Nope, not an intellectual or even trying to be. I don't think I could be if I tried.

Mark, I bet you’re totally right about listening to it instead of just reading it.


message 15: by Alex (new)

Alex Ellen wrote: "Mark wrote: "I actually listened to the audio version of this book for that reason. Reading personal stories and opinions would all sound the same if I had read them. Listening to the book was wi..."

You have the option to review books on the site, that doesn't mean we're on a book review site. If you don't want people criticizing your review, then don't write one.

They weren't "ad hominem snipes", I'm pointing out that you gave no actual valid points as to why it was a bad book besides, "I think Q and A is stupid". That's hardly a personal attack.

If you thought me saying you had no business writing a review if you think "classic storytelling elements are dispensed with" when the book is written in interview form was a personal attack or that I don't like people with different opinions then your sadly mistaken.

I simply don't like people who have opinions that don't hold any validity then try to defend themselves by not actually answering any of the criticisms brought to them but instead just spewing out claims that the said criticism is full of logical fallacies.


message 16: by Alex (new)

Alex Ellen wrote: "Mark wrote: "I actually listened to the audio version of this book for that reason. Reading personal stories and opinions would all sound the same if I had read them. Listening to the book was wi..."
Though I do appreciate your subtle backhanded compliment of "you sound like a jerk but i'm sure you're cool".


message 17: by Jason (new)

Jason "he reviewer made a great attempt at sounding like an intellectual but didn't really offer any valid reasons as to why the book merited 1 star. Furthermore if you think that Q and A "dispenses" with classic story telling then you have no business writing book reviews" i agree with Ellen. this sort of personalization of the review is not helpful.


message 18: by Jane (new)

Jane Each to their own. I read this book before the rest of the world clocked on to it. I enjoyed it because it was different. There wasn't a story in there that didn't have me gripped. It was an insight into any global reaction to possible threats. First hide it. Then let science and industry cure it regardless of the facts about it. Then when it is way to late give out a few badly thought out suggestions, up root the leaders and leave the populace to rot. I am no critic and don't claim to be, I read this book because I love the whole Zombie genre. I found it so refreshing after every other book in horror literature being about vampires or werewolves. It was a creepy read of individual stories to military and political points. If you thought it was that bad why comment.


message 19: by Jason (new)

Jason Ugh my library book expired so I'll get back into this soon. I can related to the same voice thing, but regardless of the pov it was well written and had me entertained.


message 20: by 06BraedonR (new)

06BraedonR Jason wrote: "Ugh my library book expired so I'll get back into this soon. I can related to the same voice thing, but regardless of the pov it was well written and had me entertained."

The reason for the one voice is that its coming from a reporter! A reporter writes down what he said and puts it into there own words.



message 21: by Jason (last edited Dec 06, 2012 08:22PM) (new)

Jason I don't know why you wasted your time on that post. I said it was well written.


message 22: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Jo At least you finished the book! I disliked it so much that I gave up on trying. Maybe someday, when I'm bored and have run out of other reading options I might pick this up again. :-)


message 23: by Jason (new)

Jason I tried for a second time... put it down... there are NUMEROUS books that serve as examples which demonstrate how one can use literary devices like the interview tech and still maintain a certain degree of voice and variations in POV.... case studies would have served this books intent well, as it would have maintained that interview like prospective, yet not be so disjointed.


message 24: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie Vallespin ..I realized though that its all a matter to tasted..


message 25: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie Vallespin ..I realized though that its all a matter to tasted..


message 26: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie Vallespin ..I realized though that its all a matter to tasted..


message 27: by Alonzo (new)

Alonzo I started out listening to it on audio-book. I can't imagine trying to read it; I would be let down by that. It wasn't as good as the hype led me to believe, either, but I think I'll check the audio out from the library again sometime and finish it....


message 28: by Chris (new)

Chris Seddon I've been trying to get into this book for a few weeks, but haven't been able to. my Sister, who has pretty outstanding taste in books, said it was brilliant. So I've been trying to persevere with it, but have just been reading it less often. I miss having a book I enjoy reading damn it!! :) So anyway...this review is exactly how I feel about what I've read so far, and my friend says that if I don't enjoy it now, I won't enjoy the rest of it.

Bye bye WWZ.


message 29: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I agree 100003948203984234%. I don't think I can finish it.


message 30: by Christopher (new)

Christopher I think you pretty much missed the point so thoroughly that I'm wondering if you knew anything about this book before reading other than the fact that zombies figure in somehow.
It's not about the zombies and doesn't even pretend to be. It's about the world. The world right now. It throws light on US, using the lens of hindsight through a filter of zombie apocalypse. Within that framework, it makes a TON of highly perceptive statements about the world we live in today; which is kind of the point of good literature.
Sure, if you were looking for another easy-read piece of monster pulp, you were bound to be disappointed. This definitely isn't that, which is why I was also very surprised by it, just in precisely the opposite way. I expected pulp and found literature. Apparently a lot of people were looking for the pulp, even hoping for it. Fear not folks, there is still plenty of it out there, especially in this genre.


message 31: by Jaime (new)

Jaime I agree completely. At first, I really liked it and wanted to keep reading, but after a while I felt like I was just reading the same thing over and over again. It took me a lot longer to read this book than most books do, and I didn't even finish it because I was so bored with it.


message 32: by Jason (new)

Jason christopher. you missed the key points of her critique: 1 same voice 2 a lack of dramatic tension. Her points were not related to meaning making. Likewise, I think the majority of people here would argue that reading is subjective by nature, and the meaning, values, and depth one obtains from any text is dependent upon their lens, and not some objective generalization.


message 33: by Brandon (new)

Brandon I felt the same way. Couldn't finish it.


message 34: by Shiny (new)

Shiny I wish I read your review before starting to read it :) I agree on both points, unfortunately


message 35: by Dana (new)

Dana West I think the problem is that this book is being hyped as a Zombie/horror/post apocalyptic story, when it is simply an account of events from people who survied. The forward explains that the initial report submitted had to be scrubbed of the "human factor". The reporter felt that the "human factor" should be published. There is no suspense, no gore, and no real climax, what there is plenty of is absolute horror, the kind that when you try to place yourself in the shoes of the interviewees, you are only able to put your toe beyond the laces because you just can't imagine living with their experiences in your brain forever.


message 36: by Zachariah (new)

Zachariah Sabo I couldn't disagree with this review more. First of all, let's read the cover shall we? World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. That should say in itself that's its not telling a story, but reliving events of what took place.

Also, the story itself is supposed to feel past-tense, but as for the events, they're for the most part, put in order for you. I'm not a well seasoned reader, but could easily construct this story with ease. In fact the chapters are: Warnings, Blame, The Great Panic, Turning the Tide, Home Front USA, Around the World and Above, Total War, and Good-byes. Sounds easy to understand.
Lastly if you read in monotone then the characters will sound the same, sure. In fact some parts noted that it had to be translated. Not to mention, its implied that these interviews are done through one central source, so probably transcribed back into clear English.

As I said before, I'm not a well seasoned reader. But I am quick-witted and imaginative.


message 37: by Zachariah (new)

Zachariah Sabo BTW I totally agree with Christopher about the book. its not about the Zombie gore (though there are gruesome parts) its about the war told by witnesses. Don't judge a book by its cover, but at least read it.


message 38: by Jason (new)

Jason Yes but the repetitively voice became taxing and did not contribute in a positive to the overall storyline


message 39: by Jason (new)

Jason Dana the intro felt somewhat as a cop out


message 40: by Jim (new)

Jim Schubert I was also stoked about reading this and found it difficult to finish with the limited voice and lacking enthusiasm in the recounts of interviewees. I wanted to throw my tablet across the room because I was so confused about how an Asian survivor used the same voice and Americanisms as a US veteran. The concept is great, but the execution is terrible.


message 41: by Dana (last edited Nov 25, 2012 08:30AM) (new)

Dana West Jason, have you read many oral histories? Interviews? Biographies? This type of storytelling is only as flat as the individual doing the reading.

Jim, have you ever had to translate another language and make it understandable for an audience of a different culture? I bet not.

This argument has become far too serious for a book that was not only entertaining but also thought provoking. Let's hope those with a negative view are not tasked with writing our history one day.


message 42: by Joe (new)

Joe Davidson I loved this review! Reading it brought to my own mind issues that I had while reading the book that I didn't quite know how to put into words. I wish Goodreads had more of a socially interactive peer review system because I definitely would have "liked" this review.

I also think they should have more than a simple 5-star rating and review system. I hated giving this book only 2-stars because it was a pretty good book, just not the type of book I enjoy reading.


message 43: by Heather (new)

Heather wow! I am so surprised to hear that your review is so negative! I am about 2/3 of the way through the book, and I'm really digging it. I can understand the reasons that you didn't like it- lack of variety in voice, and lack of dramatic tension- but I didn't even notice those faults as I was reading. I was compelled by other aspects of the book that you seemed to miss entirely.
what I appreciated most about the book was that the author used our current cultural and individual paradigms and worldviews (south Korean citizen, female American Air Force pilot, isolated Russian officer...) to predict the ways in which responses to the crisis differ.
it is more an exploration of who we are, and the differences between different nations and cultures (south Africa, Europe, Russia, Korea, china, Japan, Israel...), using zombie apocalypse as a vehicle for this exploration.
on the levels of individuals, nations, governments and cultures, our worldviews dictate how we react to all sorts of things- global warming, energy crises, Arab spring, genetic modification of foods, apartheid, jihad....- and in this book, Zack. and I found using reactions/responses to historic and current events as a model for predicting reactions/responses to this imaginary scenario to be fascinating.


message 44: by Jason (new)

Jason Dana ... i stand firm in my argument that it could be delivered differently. if the argument is that it is an oral account, and thus formulated on interviews, then it should,to a certain extent, reflect different voices. I have read biographies, many, all of which have different voices, but this my friend is not a biography. I have read interviews, many of which i can recall had a certain level of distinction and uniqueness, but this novel did not capture that element. oral histories, also, for to a certain extent have a level of distinction, if one or more voice is concerned. Thanks, also for referring to me as flat. that was special.


message 45: by Tina (new)

Tina You're review is disappointing. I'm not even half way and you nailed my thoughts completely! I guess no such luck in wishing it gets better. I was hoping :(


message 46: by Jason (new)

Jason Tina read it as more of a verbal to written report. See if that helps. Didn't with me., though


message 47: by Tina (new)

Tina Jason, I have been and its not working.

I think I picked this book up expecting riveting exciting tales from the people he interviewed. But I find most is about useless information on their lives and not enough about the zombies.

I'm going to keep reading, maybe I'll start to enjoy it at some point.


message 48: by Brian (new)

Brian I agree with Ellen as well. I had heard how great this book was and had high hopes. Out of the gate, I liked it. I liked the cover up and the plan in Israel, and it seemed like it was going places... Then it just dissolves. It had a good teeth. It had ideas for zombies I hadn't really thought of, the scene at the Long Island bunker started to work and then... poop. It all goes dead after that.

Before those that have attacked these reviews start bashing me like you blanket bash everyone else, my wife is an anthropologist and I have had the joy of reading oral histories and minutia while she was going through school with her. Additionally, I can read in different character voices, I can empathize with a situation, I can extrapolate that these situations were unlike anything and were a complete mind fuck; but that doesn't mean I should have to make it that. The author is supposed to make the suspense and tie these crazy points together. Like a zombie though there is no soul in this book, unlike the anthropological studies I have read. Hell, there might be a real book in there if an Anthropologist wrote this. It has a decent run and just dies under the stress of trying to be a zombie book on the back half but with no legs to it.

The more I think of it, I think that is what he probably had, a great idea for a book and just didn't know how he was going to end it. But you have to strike while the iron is hot so you push it out there and make some coin. It wasn't like he had a great revelation on mankind's nature in here. He didn't cure or spotlight man's plight or evil any better than any other fantasy author could do. It was just another book. Killed some time and left me wanting. 1 star.


message 49: by Jason (new)

Jason Tina wrote: "Jason, I have been and its not working.

I think I picked this book up expecting riveting exciting tales from the people he interviewed. But I find most is about useless information on their lives..."


yah.. It just didn't hold up to reviews, nor did it hold up to any sort of distinction, meaning, that, as Brian just explained far better than I could, its just another book.


message 50: by Denerick (new)

Denerick I'm one of these people who instantly skip ratings 2 to 4 and go straight for the one and five. I like hearing about the extremes and how they regarded a certain work (Though I am myself loathe to rate a book either a one or five, as I can usually find something objectionable enough or likable enough to save it from automatic distrust) However, reading some of these reviews, I've come across a pattern. 'This book lacks dramatic purpose'. What a ridiculous statement. Who are you to set the boundries of the modern novel, or set limitations on what it should or shouldn't do within its own rule structure? If you read this book the way the author intended, it isn't actually a novel. Its an oral history of an historic event. It isn't supposed to feature a protagonist who experiences any number of difficulties and/or arrives at certain insights. It tells a story. Straight up, without the bullshit. It is history, not fiction (Though the history in this case is fictionalised, obviously)

So again, I honestly don't even understand the issue people have here. You don't read an encyclopedia and then complain that the articles 'lack dramatic poise, forget to adhere to the rules of novel writing'. And why don't you think that? Because if you did, you would be expecting a dog to bear the likeness of a cat, or a bear of a man. The very complaint is vacuous, and thus nullified, in my opinion.


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