Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #14: Zone One by Colson Whitehead
If I had to sum up Zone One in one word (which I definitely DON’T but I’m going to do it anyway), it would be: MEH. I finished it last week and have been putting off writing this review because I just don’t have that much to say about it. To be completely honest, this probably isn’t going to be a very fair review because for the first half of Zone One, I thought I was reading Warm Bodies, which is the book I MEANT to check out of the library, but I was checking it out on my Kindle and I wasn’t paying very close attention SUE ME. Warm Bodies is (to my admittedly limited knowledge) about a zombie who falls in love with a human and protects her or something. While that’s even more unbelievable than the idea of a zombie apocalypse (which, I will argue, you should still totally prepare for no matter how unbelievable you think it may be), it still sounds better than the book I actually read.
Zone One is about zombies (so at least I got that part right), a subject about which I keep reading (and watching) even though the very idea of zombies scares the ever-living shit out of me. The story follows a man named Mark Spitz (but not THE Mark Spitz, the main character gets this nickname in a way I’m certain the author thinks is much cleverer than it actually is) as he patrols an evacuated NYC, ridding the city of any leftover “skels” who were missed during the initial zombie-cide. They encounter very few actual
walkers zombies skels; the ones they do find are called “stragglers.” These are individuals who didn’t quite get through the zombie transition properly (slackers) and who are now stuck, all catatonic-like, in one position, performing some mundane task for the rest of eternity (or until someone puts them out of their misery).
My main problem with this book was that I didn’t care about any of the characters. I didn’t care if they lived or died and, in fact, often wished that one of them would be eaten by a zombie just so something would happen. Funnily enough, I’ve often wished the same thing while watching The Walking Dead. Zing! Anyway. Another problem I had was that the entirety of the novel took place over the course of (I think?) three days, with a few flashbacks. I realize this is just my personal preference, but BOOOOOOOORING.
Stuff started happening eventually, but it was too little, too late, and with way too much description. We get it, Colson Whitehead, you can write (because damn, he can write). I hesitate to say this was a terrible book, it wasn’t, it just wasn’t what I wanted to read. I wanted more story, especially about a brief interlude Mark Spitz had with a woman in a toy store. Someone write that story! I’ll totally read it.
PS: Also! I didn’t have ONE ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE as a result of reading this book. What the shit is that?