Customer Reviews for

Brains: A Zombie Memoir

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not Bad At All

This book is different from your regular zombie books. It is from the perspective of a thinking zombie. I liked it because it was different and a change of pace. There were still the icky, gory parts that i love as well.

posted by TraceyD on January 25, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Flimsy storyline but funny and entertaining.

Although it's easy to jump to conclusions I should inform you that this is not an autobiography about one of the Olsen twins. Nope, 'Brains' is the memoir of Jack Barnes who is somewhat the hero of the book even though he is a zombie. You see, in this very unique take o...
Although it's easy to jump to conclusions I should inform you that this is not an autobiography about one of the Olsen twins. Nope, 'Brains' is the memoir of Jack Barnes who is somewhat the hero of the book even though he is a zombie. You see, in this very unique take on the zombie genre the zombies are victims of a virus and some degree of sympathy is bestowed upon them. In addition to the regular, mindless zombie scenario a few of the main characters keep various aspects of their humanity for reasons never explained. Jack Barnes for instance is still able to think coherently and able to write, hence the memoir, even though he can't speak, drive a car or move about particularly well. On his journey to find the scientist responsible for producing the lethal virus he befriends other zombies each of who still retain an ability that they had as a human including a zombie who can speak, a nurse who can still administer aid and a girl who retains her remarkable ability to be a crack-shot with a weapon. However, they all still have the need to eat brains.
The story starts out strong with sharp, incisive humor with a quick immersion into the main story. As it progressed though I found the humor was too much and the storyline too shallow and it became obvious the author was attempting to keep it fresh by jaunting into various subjects and giving us Jack Barnes opinion of that said subject. For instance, about midway through the novel religion becomes very prominent in the analogies given and the one liners that are used. Then it fades out to be replaced by the next topic that the author decided to fixate upon for a while. It was as if Becker was thinking, "what topic should I make fun of next?" and then worked that topic into the storyline. Don't get me wrong the humor was smart and witty but there was just too much of it in comparison to the lack of storyline.
A few inconsistencies exist within the novel such as zombies being weak yet they somehow have the power to tear off peoples heads at will or rip apart peoples skulls with their hands. There was an inconsistency near the very end of the novel that pulled me out of the story when the main character, who at one point when inside a building, takes minutes to get up off the couch, minutes to walk to door and more minutes to open it (p140) suddenly "...climbed onto the ledge of the boat and jumped, flying through the air like Superman..." to land on a human in the space of a few seconds while gunfire was going on all around him. Very convenient for the storyline but a series of actions that went against everything we had been taught about Becker's version of the undead. In fact the ending was very weak overall, which was a shame as the story had enough guile and entertainment to keep me reading through to the end regardless of its faults, and the logic applied at the end as the reason for killing all zombies, even the ones who retain elements of their humanity, is very flawed...basically, once a zombie always a zombie. I'm glad society doesn't treat alcoholics, depressives, Jehovah's Witnesses etc. in that way otherwise they would all be shot dead!
Still, I did enjoy this offering and it was different from any other zombie novel I have read. Certainly not a classic in my opinion but a decent read nonetheless.

posted by Marc74 on April 11, 2011

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Unexpected Laughs

    I'm not into zombies at all, but when I saw this book I figured I'd give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book! Some parts were very gross (I was eating lunch & reading during one particular scene and couldn't finish my lunch...) but overall I enjoyed it very much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    Did not expect to like this book.

    Not into the whole zombie thing, but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the flow of this authors voice. Very witty humor, easy enjoyable read. Still not into the whole zombie thing though.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2010

    Zombie comedy that explores the 'human' imprint on a zombified world

    Since I have never read a zombie-centric book in my life, I decided to broaden my horizons when an opportunity to review one came up. And I think I have found yet another genre that I highly enjoy!

    After reading and laughing (out loud may I add!) my way through the first chapter I had to keep going to see what antics Jack would get involved in with his search for his creator. This book was exceptionally clever and entertaining until the last page. I was infatuated with the idea that he still maintained a 'human' perspective with the instinctual thirsts that a zombie would possess, in one word, BRAINS! I loved that he would rationalize most situations as a human would, but survival instincts almost always prevailed.

    The characters that Becker created were phenomenal. Although most of the zombies shuffled around with food on the mind, there were some stand-out characters that still retained their human-like qualities which made a hilarious and entertaining motley crew as they battled their way across the United States. Another human-like quality that I appreciated in Jack were his random tangents of pop culture from current events surrounding him.

    This was a fun and quick read that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to explore the inevitable zombie takeover of the world!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    So much fun!

    Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker was brilliant, to say the least. It was edgy, refreshing and totally unlike anything I have read lately. It was a quick read, at only 192 pages. I only wish it would have been longer- but the author was clever leaving it as she did. I don't know if I will get to visit the courageous and cunning Jack Barnes again- though I would be the first one in line to buy a second book if there ever was one.

    A scientist, Stein, has been trying to mold the perfect person. But, just like it should- it all goes wrong when they release the virus before it is ready. This leads us to the endearing college professor, Jack Barnes, and his wife being surrounded by infectious people. Zombies. He inevitably contracts the foul zombie virus that has been eating the country. Along with his newly decaying body he has found a new passion: Brains. He says it better than anyone, "...beautiful, bountiful, bubbly, bewitching, bedazzling brains." I am in love with the way this book is written. It made me laugh, cringe and hope. Hope for zombies? Who would have thought. I was utterly torn, do I want the zombies to get slaughtered?! Do I want them to survive to brutally eat more humans!? Geesh, I still don't know. But I DO know that I loved Jack Barnes and his little entourage of special zombies. Jack goes on an adventure with his fellow zombies to find their God, their creator... the reason this all started. Stein. I mean, he must appreciate their existence, right? He'll help them survive among humans.... right?

    This is what I love about Jack- when you look into his eyes, they aren't vacant and glossed over like the majority of the undead. No, he is self aware. He can read. He can write. And he is smart enough to realize there are others like him. He finds Guts, Joan, Annie, Ross and Eve. All with their own individual zombie super powers. They will fight for equality, or die (again) trying!

    I highly suggest this book to anyone- if you don't mind some serious flesh eating. The book is written in first person, which is why it is so much fun. Who doesn't want to be present for the thought process of a self aware zombie? I'm going to be reading this book more than once, and recommending it to all my guy friends. Can we have another, Ms. Becker?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    Enjoyable from start to finish

    Can be read as an extended metaphor for the pitfalls of humanity, an allegorical "Wizard of Oz", or simply a fresh take on the zombie story. Any way you read it, this book is both refreshing and funny while still having a kind of moral background. It was worth the money.

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Funny and touching? Zombies?

    Wow...I actually got this book from my library but would gladly have paid for it! Entertaining, funny, smart. Actually one of the best books I've read in a while!

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