The Zombie Survival Guide
By Zach Patterson Tuesday, 17 May 2005

The Zombie Survival Guide, a book recommended to me by many and purchased for me by my loving girlfriend, exists in another dimension. In order to enjoy the book, you have to have the certain sense of humor that embraces the fact that zombies do exist, there have been many attacks, and this is actually a guide on what to do in case of a widespread panic. If you just read that and said, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”, don’t read any further.

For those of you still with me, the book’s greatest strength is that it takes itself so seriously. The writer, Max Brooks (SNL writer and son of Mel Brooks, good pedigree) covers EVERY possible end in regards to what weapons to use, where to hide, what to do in contigency A, B, C, etc. It is exhaustive in its attempt to provide the reader with all the information known about zombies. Part of charm comes from the references most readers will draw from their own zombie movie history, and many of the instances will make anyone familiar with zombie movies smile at least once. Information such as why a chainsaw is a bad weapon and why you must assemble a team in preparation for a possible attack one day is priceless. It also covers what to take in an emergency when on the run or pursuing zombies. The excessiveness is one of its best traits and also one that eventually gets to be too much.

If the book has one problem, it perhaps is that the actual concept is taken so far. At times, reading the third chapter on underwater zombie contingencies does wear a bit thin. But then again, the book is not a narrative, it is a guide, and you can pick and choose what to read. I think in terms of pure writing criticism that the recorded attacks should have been introduced earlier, since it seemed like the book was drawing to a close when some of the more entertaining parts in the attacks log were introduced.

But in spite of this, I still think this is a great book, that, while not for everyone, gave me a couple great weeks of casual reading.


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