A Study on the Human Experience: Review of ‘Warm Bodies’

Cynthia Ayala ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion: Random House
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: Random House

Warm Bodies is a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance novel set in the horror and young adult genres about a zombie R who stumbles across Julie, a human girl who begins to awaken something deep inside him, turning him into something else, something human.

Published on October 1, 2010 by Random House Vintage and written by Isaac Marion Warm Bodies follows R and Julie Grigio. Readers are thrown into another world where it’s humans versus zombies. However, this isn’t the typical zombie novel. Instead, this novel takes on the narrative of R, the zombie and develops the human enterprise of what it means to be alive. As R is a zombie, there’s no question of whether or not he is alive, but Marion puts that into question by making the narrative his. This is a unique style within the zombie and horror genre because it takes time to develop the character from the inside out and give life to a zombie.

Marion took this novel as an opportunity to explore the fundamentals of humanity, of what makes people alive and what makes them dead. Rather than going on about some virus that swept over humanity, he explores the possibility that the zombies made themselves by living monotonously. Monotony is the killer in the novel; the reluctance to live is the killer. It’s beautiful how Marion describes this novel, using the concept of monotony to explore the idea of living, developing the characters and the world that they are stuck in.

This is an exceptionally well thought out novel with such excellent concepts that raise the novel above its Young Adult genre. This is not just a book for teens; it is a novel for everyone who can appreciate the depth of the story and the characters. It is easy to follow, while at the same time incredibly thought provoking.

Other than that, it’s very amusing. Before R meets Julie, there is not a lot of dialogue, considering the fact that R is a zombie. Like most zombies, he has lost the intellect to form sentences. But when introduced into his narrative, readers find that there is a lot of intellect within him, seeking escape, and his life lessons, his inner dialogue, and is both amusing and sad—this all hooks the readers. This character seeks to speak and express himself but finds himself trapped within his own skin.

This is a story that’s a twist on the traditional Romeo and Juliet story, the forbidden love and star crossed lovers, the more romantic side of the story that opens the doorways for the characters. Love is life, living is life, not hiding and not wallowing in misery, that is what this novel conveys with each word and breath it takes, making it an exceptional novel.


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