The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead by Scott KenemoreA self-help book for those who want to emulate the positive aspects of being undead. I bet you didn't think there were any, did you?
ZPAA ratingLate teen and up
Gore level3 out of 10--The illustrations in the book are sort of gory but mostly cartoony (like the cover above); none of the descriptions are particularly rough.
Other offensive contentLots of bad language (including f-bombs) mostly done for comic effect; some crass sexual references; discussion of Jesus (referred to as "Jebus" either in imitation of Homer Simpson or to be less offensive, probably both) as a zombie.
How much zombie mythology/contentThere's lots of zombie content in here. As the title suggests, the slower moving, Zen-like zombie is looked upon as a model for successful behavior in modern life.
How much funAs a mock self-help book, this is a pretty funny read. In fact, it may be to polar opposite of The Walking Dead. Who knew becoming a zombie could improve your life?
Synopsis & ReviewThis unique self-help book has two part. First, the author reviews the 24 highly effective habits of zombies. Being patient, focusing on a task without distractions, choosing your own path in life, accepting who you are, and treating other people equally are just some of the ways in which the undead show their natural effectiveness and efficiency in dealing with the modern world. Seeing so many appealing aspects of a zombie's outlook on life leads naturally into the next part.
Second, the book provides a 90 day program to achieve a zombie-like state without the inconvenience of being bitten, irradiated, or cursed by some master of the dark arts. Going step by step through various key ways a zombie behaves, the reader is encourage to retrain their reactions to situations in life and to deal with life in a more zombie-like fashion. Consider week 1: the reader is instructed to make a list of things which he or she fears and things that fear him or her. A true zombie fears nothing. And most everything else fears it. By keeping a journal of both categories, the reader moves items from the "I fear it" category over to the "it fears me" category by imagining how to reverse the fear (weirdos on the street aren't so scary when you are even weirder to them!). By week 12, acting like a zombie goes into autopilot, i.e. the training becomes instinctual and you just do what a zombie does.
I found this book very entertaining. Having a mistrust of self-help books, I enjoyed how the author poked fun at the genre using a patently absurd goal, becoming a zombie, as the key to success in life. He described a lot of interesting ways zombies are highly effective people. Consider how zombies are completely non-discriminatory. Your skin's color or your ethnicity does nothing to do with the tastiness of your brain. By not focusing on irrelevant details, a zombie is much more efficient. Often the author adds sidebar comments that are fun bits of self-help humor, for example, "When life gives you lemons...use them to lay some kind of trap for a guy who likes lemons. Then you can eat his brain." (p. 104)
Being a Christian, I was a little nervous when the author explores how Jesus is like a zombie. He points out some basic facts: He came back from the dead; He raised other from the dead; His followers have spread by person to person contact exponentially across the face of the earth. The author recognizes he might be on thin ice with some people, but his comments are pretty innocuous and clearly meant for humor and not for offense. Personally, I didn't find it offensive, but I know people who would.
The book is a fun and diverting read.