Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{February 2, 2013}   {Review} Warm Bodies by Issac Marion–Book Vs. Movie

9475392 MV5BMTQ4MjY2MjMzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDUxNzIwOQ@@__V1_SX214_From Goodreads: A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.


Truth: I picked up this book because the previews for the movie looked rather hilarious, and up until the previews started airing, I hadn’t even known there was a book.  As the movie looked like something fun I’d like to see, I did a little research and found out it’s another book-turned-movie that has become so popular these past few years.  So, I scooped up the novel and read it, hoping for a humorous zombie tale.  But, that’s not really what I got (reader beware, there are a few spoilers below).

First of all, this is not an original story, in my opinion.  It’s actually a spinoff of Romeo and Juliet.  Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but to call Warm Bodies an original debut, well… that it is not. It’s true that it took me until halfway through the book to begin making the connections between the novel and the classic tragedy, but the balcony scene itself, when Julie is recording her thoughts and R is below her unbeknownst, gave it away, especially when Julie made the famous statement about names, which comes directly from Shakespeare.

Here’s my breakdown of our cast of characters:

Julie, the only daughter of a well known, high status general=Juliet

Perry, Julie’s boyfriend who is killed by R=Paris

Nora, Julie’s best friend and confidant=Nurse

R, a moping, depressed zombie looking for the meaning of “life” and who falls instantly for Julie=Romeo

M, R’s best friend=Mercutio

Random unlucky guard, who is also killed by R=Tybalt

General, father to Juliet unable to see past his own beliefs=Lord Capulet

Aside from our characters, the two feuding houses from the classic work out to be the humans vs. the zombies. And, as I’ve already mentioned, there is a balcony scene that follows Shakespeare’s scene to a tee.  There is instant love, at least in R’s case, as well as distant parents, big housing complexes that are dangerous to both Julie and R should they enter the other’s housing area and, the list goes on. Hence, this is a spinoff of Romeo and Juliet, with the needed vast changes to make it a spinoff and not a retelling: the weird zombie marriage (Rosaline?) and child adoption, skeleton priests or something of that nature, weird out of body experiences, or, the dead talking to R in his mind, and the lack of “death” at the end.

Now, I said earlier that I went in to this novel thinking it would be funny, and while some aspects did cause me to crack a smile, the novel itself takes on a more serious note than I was expecting.  I also found some of it a bit disturbing, and am glad the movie came out with a rating of PG 13 because, in all honesty, I think this book is rated R, what will all the blood and gore and the eating of brains (not what I pictured for a funny zombie tale).  Likewise, we don’t know how old R is, but right away, he is married to another zombie, and they adopt kids, which is sort of a strange set up.  I don’t know if this was meant to invoke humor, but it certainly didn’t with me.  Neither did the talk of zombies trying to have sex with one another.  They knew enough to get naked, but their lack of cognitive thought had them naked and slapping their parts together, unable to figure out exactly how to do the deed.  That actually made me a bit ill.  I mean, there isn’t anything humorous in dead, rotting corpses trying to have sex.  Not to me.

It is interesting to be inside R’s head, though, and he makes some great observations, but overall, the book just didn’t do it for me.  It’s not what I expected, and I think that was half the problem on my end.  I expected an almost “make-fun of zombies” type book, not blood, gore, and lengthy out of body experiences that I had trouble following.  I also didn’t really follow the logic of the zombies turning more human after R’s consumption of Perry’s brain, or how that consumption allowed the other zombies to begin to transform, either.  Therefore, while I think the book had a lot of potential, it fell a bit flat for me, whereas teenagers may find this type of book very funny, indeed—at least, I was trying to explain the grossness of a scene to a teenager and she thought it was absolutely hilarious, so.

Now, when it comes to the movie, I have to say the director actually was fairly spot on with his interpretation.  I was thinking that the movie, at least, would be funnier and probably less serious than the book ended up being, but I was wrong on that account, too.  The book and movie parallel each other quite nicely; they’re very similar, and I think the acting was decent (though I do think the zombies moved a little too fast and fluidly in the very beginning, but that’s beside the point).  Levine did a great job following the book, though a few changes were implemented here and there, such as the removal of much of the blood and gore, as well as doing away with most of the Perry/R conversations, the zombie marriage, and the sex, to name a few.  Kudos to Levine for that, because I think I would have walked out of the theater, otherwise.  Gross.  But, as I didn’t really care for the book all that much, and the movie and book are basically the same, I have to say I didn’t really care for either, in all honesty.  Two stars to both the book and movie.

2 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon, and the movie tickets from the theater nearest me.


eli yanti says:

I think I’m prefer watching the movie that read book :D. But book are awesome If I don’t have “said” phobia with reading zombie, ghost, murder stories :(

I was very disappointed with both the book and movie. Ah well. There’s always another book to be devoured. :)

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