Brains: A Zombie Memoir

Brains: A Zombie Memoir

by Robin Becker

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Overview

“A witty and unexpected take on the zombie genre; I had a great time.”
—Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels

 

Subtitled “A Zombie Memoir,” Brains looks at America’s favorite walking-dead flesh-eaters from an audaciously original and deliciously gruesome new perspective. Debut author Robin Becker blazes new ground with this story of former college professor-cum-sentient zombie Jack Barnes, who recounts the tale of the resistance he organized in the wake of the recent zombie apocalypse. World War Z; Shaun of the Dead; Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies… Becker tops them all with Brains—a witty, tasty treat for anyone who every spent a midnight glued to a classic George A. Romero zombie epic!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061974052
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Pages: 182
Sales rank: 786,097
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Robin Becker is waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse. In the meantime, she plays guitar, fishes with her husband, and teaches writing at the University of Central Arkansas. This is her first novel.

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Maberry

“Smart, original, funny and fascinating, Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker sends the zombie genre shambling in a fresh, new direction. Go on, take a bite.”

Charlaine Harris

“Barnes, a rare sentient zombie, tries to develop a program to create a zombie-human nation, but sadly, all he wants is a brain. Yours. A witty and unexpected take on the zombie genre; I had a great time.”

Mario Acevedo

“A zany disembowelment of American pop culture. Snarky. Gory. Out of control. Dementedly delicious...brainilingus!”

David Wellington

“Witty and clever, Brains is a thinking zombie’s book about what it means to be human, or almost human, and what we all owe each other whether we like it or not.”

S.G. Browne

“A zombie delight for the thinking man (and woman), Brains is a feast of literary parallels, pop culture references, and historical metaphors, with enough blood, guts, and brains to satisfy any zombie lover’s appetite. Smart, gory, and fun.”

Customer Reviews

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Brains: A Zombie Memoir 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
TraceyD More than 1 year ago
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.
Marc74 More than 1 year ago
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.
Hazardous_Pink More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
starshinedown More than 1 year ago
Jack, the zombie protagonist, is delightfully unrepentant about killing and eating (or deliberately biting and turning) the humans he comes across. He is who he is: a brain-craving walking corpse who stashes body parts in his pockets for snacks later on. He isn't interested in being human, recapturing his humanity, or slotting back into his old life. His goal is to travel across the country with a handful of other self-aware zombies and plead a case for equal treatment and equal rights with the scientist who created the virus that spawned them. A self-appointed zombie messiah making a pilgrimage to meet his hallowed creator (god) to make the case for zombie equal rights, and collecting or making other "smart" zombies along the way, sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It is also funny, gory, and touching. Robin Becker, through Jack and his rag-tag group, asks the question any self-respecting writer of speculative fiction asks: What does it mean to be human? Jack, like any good literature professor, repeatedly hits us over the head with this question until we get the point. His memoir is his answer: Humanity involves more than simply being human.
kittydanza More than 1 year ago
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!
RexRobotReviews More than 1 year ago
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?
lovejoy_rat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This gory dive into the world of the undead is written more like literary fiction, instead of the thriller or horror one might expect when picking up a zombie story. Our hero is Jack Barnes, a one time English proffessor, now doomed to zombie-hood. He is different than his drooling mindless counterparts however, in that he can think and write. He finds others like him, with intelligence and special abilites, and vows to try to live peacefully with the humans and try to come to some sort of treaty; his people would be allowed to live, and they would eat the unwanted of the humans - criminals and such. The story revolves heavily around a zombie, who remembers his human days, who is trying to merge the two realities together. He loves and wants to be loved, yet he also loves to eat brains. At times a little too prosey for my taste, but the heavy handed wording fits well with the tone of the book.
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jack Barnes was a mild mannered, elitist English professor one minute and a salivating, brain loving zombie the next. Even though he has been zombified and can no longer speak, he has somehow retained his brain function and ability to reason. He decides to seek out the scientist responsible for the virus to prove his self awareness and end the conflict between zombie and man. Along the way, he encounters other zombies with unique abilities: Joan can repair zombies injuries, making their undeaths longer; Ros (a nickname given by Jack after Rosencrantz of Hamlet fame) can speak as well as he did in life; Guts can run faster than any other zombie; Annie is a sharpshooter with killer aim; and Eve is a pregnant zombie who will hopefully give birth to a bouncing zombie baby. Can Jack and his troupe of talented zombies tell the authorities of their sentience before they are killed? Is there any possible resolution between man and zombie? This short book is an interesting read. It¿s the first book I¿ve read from the point of view of a zombie during a zombie apocalypse situation. Usually with a narrative of this style, zombies are integrated in society and trying to cope. In this novel, zombies mostly have the upper hand with sheer numbers while society has fallen apart. Another unique aspect of the novel is how it¿s practically drowning in different allusions and references to pop culture. Everything is referenced from Shakespeare to zombie films to philosophy and everything in between. The number and breadth of these references impressed me and made the narrative a little schizophrenic in a postmodern way.Zombies are used to highlight the wrongs in our society, as they do in many other films and novels. Before he was a zombie, Jack was a pretty terrible person. He was a sexist that viewed women as simply the sum of her parts. The most despicable thing he said about his mentality before zombification was how he loved anorexic girls best because of their low self esteem and self discipline. He was an elitist and scorned anything remotely associated with lower social classes. When he became a zombie, none of these things mattered anymore. It was only when he was separated from society and humanity that he experienced happiness and love in his odd zombie family unit. Race also doesn¿t matter to zombies. They are all shades of grey and they all want brains and more brains. Being a zombie is preferable to being human, according to this novel, because of the equality and unity it provides. Brains is a really fast, enjoyable read. The only thing I would have liked to see is the perspective of the other sentient zombies. I think they could have added more to the story. It kind of feels funny to root for the flesh eating zombies for once, but this novel is a welcome addition to the zombie genre.
IbnAlNaqba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Robin Becker's "Brains" was a fairly satisfying zombie novel, and with that accomplishment it broke the mold of most zombie long fiction. I love zombies, I've always loved zombies, but to be honest the majority of zombie novels on the market are a huge disappointment. I was more than a bit wary of Becker's effort at first, seeing as it based its narrative on a 1st person perspective, dependent upon personifying zombies and allowing them human characteristics, thus necessarily taking them beyond the genre as I saw it, but I was in for a surprise. Becker's personality actually suits a zombie (No offense intended dear, but I call it as I see it). Whether it's her writing skill or her actual personality, the sense of humor, the alienation from humanity, the predatory nature exhibited in the zombies she describes actually works. The jokes her primary zombie character engages in remind me of some of my friends, and even of myself. Upon reading the book, one may either find this fact hilarious or deplorable. I make no apologies, and I suspect and truly hope that neither does Becker. And there you have it... I was so enraptured by the ability of the writer to personify the zombie point of view that I was quite unable to objectively judge any other aspect of her writing style. I think there were a few things that annoyed me, a few failings here or there, and her excessive praise for Max Brooks' "Zombie Survival Guide", which I found imbecilic and could bear no more than a brief moment's examination of, certainly grated a bit... but the main thing that carries this book isn't technical detail, isn't necessarily literary skill, it's personality. "Brains" has it. In spades. I recommend it strongly to those aching for a taste of brains... it may not be the holy grail, but it's certainly entertaining and given what's available on the market you may not get much better anytime soon unless your eyes glaze over and you crack open a skull yourselves.
ajscott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise is unique and the story is entertaining but it just seems a bit rushed. The book jumps forward days, weeks, or even months at a time in a few sentences with no comment or reason. I understand that some of this is explainable by the first person perspective and a lack of interest from the narrator but it seems that it's not so much a novel as a very detailed outline for a larger story. I recommend the book for its originality but it doesn't need to go to the top of your reading list.
rexrobotreviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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?
britbrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
**This review is of an Advanced Review Copy, not the product released for purchase.**This is a different take on the traditional zombie tale. Man gets bitten by zombie. Man becomes zombie. Man realizes that although he is now a zombie, he still has his personality, can think, and can write. Man searches for other zombies who have retained some kind of intelligence and proceeds to have existential discussions with himself. Once he has gathered a small group of "soldiers," the main character leads them to find their maker, a scientist who unleashed the zombie virus upon the world.This story has a great beginning, a great ending, and a really fun premise. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to get through the middle. I'm a big horror fan. I'll devour a classic Stephen King novel or a Dean Koontz novel in less than a day. "Brains" was just too much for me. I could handle the descriptions of cannibalism, but the violence against small children made me want to stop reading several times. I slogged though, even though it literally made me feel sick. Plus, the literate zombie's internal musings got very repetitive and bordered on annoying. I know he's not supposed to be likable, but he wasn't even entertaining. However, when I talk to library patrons about reading, I tell them that it's important to every now and again read something they don't like because it will help them identify and appreciate their literary tastes. I didn't want to be a hypocrite.Take out the baby scenes (at least the human baby scenes) and cut out a lot of the drivel in the middle and you've got a great short story. Something tells me that this started out as a short story and the author decided to flesh it out (ha ha) and make it a novel. She should have left well enough alone.
sithereandread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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!
waxlight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Couldnt even finish a quarter of the book. Relies way too much on cliches to be funny.
Pool_Boy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very quick and funny read. Writing was not top notch, but the story was quite entertaining. Not sure I liked the ending as much as the story of the way to get to the ending, but still pretty funny. If you like zombies and like to chuckle and want a nice light and quick read, this book is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a laugh and are intrigued because the blurbs likened it to Shaun Of The Dead keep looking. That was what hooked me and there wasn't enough sample to be able to tell if maybe it got funny later on. It doesn't. There wasn't a single giggle, grin or guffaw in this book. That said, once you get over the burning rage and crushing depression that comes with having been lied to about the jocularity, it's not a terrible book. I cared about a few of the characters and got pissed about the ways one or two of them finished up. If you're like me you aren't going to laugh, so don't expect to, but if you read it with that knowledge under your belt you may find you like it. It's around 180 pages, obviously there is violence and no sex but a bit of vulgarity.------- Seahag
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
IrisBlue More than 1 year ago
A unique take on the zombie trend. A little clunky, but still engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this zombie-centric novel was well written. I was enthralled with this witty, funny, and ironic book. It was written in first person, from the view of Jack. He is on an epic journey to meet the creator of zombies for the purposes of equality and (uneasy) peace. This book was so good that I read it in one sitting. A very good job of presenting "smart" zombies that are different from others, but who accept their own fates can be found in this title. I recommend the book,"Brains!", to zombie fans and others who like something different. -AvidReader
anttis70 More than 1 year ago
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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