Brownbetty's Reviews > World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z by Max Brooks
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's review
Aug 10, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: abandoned-unfinished
Read in August, 2010

This book is like ordering ice-cream and receiving a punch in the mouth.

I've been wanting to read this book for a while, since it seemed right up my alley; I love a good apocafic, and zombies are always fun. I made it to page 69 before putting it down with great force--I would have thrown it, except it was a library book.

This book is, as advertised, about the global zombie apocalypse as told by the survivors. You don't stay with a narrative voice very long; each one speaks to the 'interviewer', telling their experience of the global plague, and then moves on. It's not worth becoming fond of any of them, and frankly, not very likely either; personalities only go about as far as classing a person as “stupid,” "naive", or “evil,” with the occasional “if only we'd listened to that farsighted man!”

The personality that comes through the strongest is the writer, not the in-story journalist who has supposedly compiled the stories, but in fact max brooks. I don't know the man, but from the 69 pages of his writing I already dislike him.

The overall tone I get from this book is 'smug.' I twitched in the introduction when the journalist describes his motivation writing the book; his boss who pays him rejects his first draft which contains the interviews which contain the “human factor”, dismissing them as “too intimate … too many feelings.” Obviously, this boss is a robot-hearted beaurocrat!

Or maybe the journalist is an idiot. He was told to write up a report containing “cold, hard data,” and “clear facts and figures,” and he handed in an oral history? What did he think was going to happen?

I could handle it if the framing device was “idiot-journalist is idiot,” but it's not just him. It quickly becomes apparent that the actual subtitle of this book is “How the people and institutions I despise will doom us all in the upcoming zombie apocalypse.” Nearly every account falls into “Oh, I was so foolish and innocent then!” or “I remain a selfish bastard, and refuse to feel guilty for my actions.” It's like a whole book of stories ending with “And then the entire bus gave me a standing ovation, and the bus driver told me I was his adopted brother.”

AUGH. Look, 69 pages produced that much aggravation. Imagine if I'd finished it.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Catriona Setliffe I did finish the book, and I'll tell you that it never gets any better. I had precisely the same feeling and finished it more out of dogged determination than anything else. Always bad when a zombie narrative doesn't make you think "eek, zombies are scary!" or "yay, go humans for winning in the end!" or whatever, but instead "wow, this author has some serious, serious issues."

Brownbetty Plenty of people I like did like it, so apparently it didn't bother everyone, but it sure bothered me enough for everyone. But it is reassuring to know I'm not alone.

message 3: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Tackett sholar Thanks for saving me some time and money. Won't be reading or seeing the movie.

Katie Spot on.

message 5: by Jamie (new) - added it

Jamie Couldn't even get into it enough to finish it.

David Desautell I wish I had seen this before I read it, It would have saved me a lot of time

message 7: by Tim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tim "This book is like ordering ice-cream and receiving a punch in the mouth."

What a great comment! Made me laugh out loud.

Rylan L the movie is alot better

message 9: by Miss (new) - added it

Miss Crossan I was going into this book thinking it would be awesome like the movie, and no. Just so much no. I got to fifty pages and just couldn't do it. I HATE not finishing a book but I just hate it so much! So bad!

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