What I’m Reading: World War Z


A Review of World War Z.

Sometimes I really love Wikipedia. Today it informed me that while I am only a moderate bibliophile, I am an avid bookworm. My most recent conquest was World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. I was not tipped to this book because of its current movie, starting Brad Pitt, and actually had been previously turned off on the whole concept. Sure, I love postulating about survival tactics for the possible Zombie Apocalypse, but the blood, gore, and action flick held no interest for me.

Last week an old friend of mine crashed at our house while visiting. On normal trips he usually spends any spare time inciting us to drink copiously with him or encouraging the boys into one after another computer game. This time I was completely surprised to find him outside, relaxing, and reading this book, or inside, ignoring whatever movie was playing, and reading this book. While it was innocently waiting to be picked up again I grabbed it and meant to just briefly check it out. After barely a couple pages, I was hooked.

Unlike most books, there is no main character/main plot line to lead you through the story. Broken into larger themed sections, the story is told through a collection of first person accounts. The only consistent character, the interviewer, intrudes briefly, asking pointed questions to help direct the storytellers narratives and small prefaces to introduce characters . Possibly my favorite part about this book was how straightforward these narratives are. Oftentimes footnotes are included to elaborate on some of the lingo unique to this post-zombie world.

The narratives vary greatly in size, though most cover only a few pages. The characters come from all over the world, rarely have any true connections to other characters, but provide a compelling intertwining web of experiences. I loved putting together the puzzle pieces from each story. It intrigued me how the small details from one mans story would so influential to another, across the globe. It’s hard to tell you more about the story, since there is no specific story line. The novel journals how the countries of the world survived the Zombie invasion. This aspect, survival, makes this story unique among zombie stories. There certainly is panic, but it lacks the doom & gloom approach of most zombie Apocalypse stories, which lends to the realistic feel of the novel.

I’m not a big fan horror stories, so I was wary when I started to read this book. I’m not into unnecessary blood and guts, and I really don’t like being grossed out or freaked out just for the fun of it. Luckily, World War Z did none of these. Yes, there are gross and detailed parts, but every instance feels necessary to explain the truth of what happened to these people. The journal format, and scientific approach, meant that each gross retelling of bones snapping through skin just helped to better explain the alien nature these creatures possessed.

Now that I’ve completed the book, I am getting increasingly more interested in seeing the movie. As I’ve already told all my friends, I wouldn’t think there is any way for them to successfully turn this story into a movie, but they did. I can only guess that it takes from the general feel and facts of the book to create an all out crazy action movie, which isn’t too bad I guess.

Hopefully I’ve intrigued you enough to go pick up this novel. I would say it is a necessity if you every want to successfully debate your zombie survival odds. And i’ll leave you with this, look forward to Japan. That was certainly my favorite story in the book.

If you want to read a little better review, here’s the Amazon page. But it you want to purchase it, try going to your local book store first and support your own community! If you’re in or near Boise, I recommend Hyde Park Books, the place is adorable and the people are awesome.

Have you read World War Z? Let me know what you thought! Though be careful about any spoilers 🙂

Have any other book suggestions?! I’m always on the hunt for my next great read, so help a girl out.