Becky’s Two Hundred and Fifty-Sixth Book Review: “World War Z” by Max Brooks

“World War Z” by Max Brooks was a really entertaining read. It isn’t written as a novel, rather the book is a series of interviews taken in a post-apocalyptic world. The content and style of this book is explained from the start: “Zombie remains a devastating word, unrivaled in its power to conjure up so many memories or emotions, and it is these memories, and emotions, that are the subject of this book.” (World War Z, pg 1). This made for a very interesting and dynamic read. I couldn’t put the book down.

Zombies are very popular nowadays, so it is challenging to write something that will stand out. Despite the fact that this book has been on shelf for a long while, I delayed reading it after seeing the preview for the movie by the same name. It looked like pretty much every other zombie movie. It wasn’t until I saw a review about the movie stating that it was nothing like the book that my interest was renewed and so I finally picked up the book.

I was impressed with Brooks’s ability to write from so many different perspectives. He has his own voice throughout the book as the interviewer, and then the people that account for their stories during the Zombie War range from all different ages, sexes, ethnicities, classes, locations, occupations, and so on. I thought this was an intriguing way to read a book. It is rare to jump from so many different perspectives, but it definitely kept the book interesting and made it stand out. I liked that there were those in denial during the beginning of the outbreak and just somehow managed to survive. There was one kid that was so wrapped up in the news about the outbreaks and communicating this over the web with others that his entire building including his parents either disappeared in hopes of refuge somewhere else or became a zombie. Then there were those that in a panic head north for the cold, packing their computers and chargers and not bringing enough warm clothes or food. These stories are what kept this book on a semi-realistic level. If there was an outbreak, this is the kind of thing that you would see happen. I liked that Brooks thoroughly explored different viewpoints.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely – I think it is one of those books that would appeal to a range of different kinds of readers. It is a history of the Zombie War, but it is much more interesting than any history book that I’ve ever picked up. It isn’t overly gruesome or violent, and therefore would appeal to those that normally steer clear of zombie books because of the gore. It was a very straight-forward and logical take on what the world would go through – and how people would be affected afterwards – in the event of a Zombie War. I would be interested to read more of Max Brooks’s writing, I would be curious to see if this is the only style he writes in or if this was just how he wrote “World War Z”, either way, I’m game.

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