Eh! said it already, but I’ll say it again. In fact, I’ll just quote her: “This book is motherfucking meta to the motherfucking extreme, bitches!!!”
This is the first “….with zombies” book I’ve read. I was underwhelmed with the idea before it took off. I can’t even say how many times well-meaning coworkers put my name on the hold list for Pride and Prejudice with Zombies. It got so bad that I had to post a sign on my workspace requesting that people stop checking it out to me and putting it on hold. It just looked fucking stupid to me.
But then Eh! sends me this motherfucker. I’ll admit, I was kind of excited. I’d been wanting to read something by Arganoff. I mean, shit. There are only so many straight-edge vegans writing bizarro fiction these days, right? This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. But there was a part of me that was dreading the whole thing. Zombies in literature, more often than not, suck donkey.
Can I even say how happy I was when the protagonist of this little tale got a job working for a publisher of “…with zombies” books? And that she hates them? I was on board from that point forward. What ensues is a political food-drama in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
Agranoff addresses all sorts of hypocrisies in personal food views. The shit hits the fan when some scientists create a drug that prevents animals from feeling any sort of stress. This, in theory, results in a humane death for animals being slaughtered. And, as such, flesh-eaters can enjoy the meat they love without guilt. Of course, the drug hasn’t been properly regulated and is passed on the the consumer of the meat, zombifying his/her brain. The only ones left….dun, dun, DUN….are the vegans.
But the satire doesn’t end there. Agranoff pits the different types of vegetarians- the raw foodists, the freegans, the welfarists- against one another. Do animal rights extend to the undead? Or is this a chance to start society over from scratch? While delivering an understanding of the ethics behind these questions, Agranoff provides the eager reader with many a hipster death and various other hilarious situations. There’s just something to be said for a group of vegans driving around in a bus with a zombie harpoon attached to the hood.
The political commentary runs deep in this book, which is rather deceptive in light of the goofy subject matter. I really liked the parallel between meat-eaters and zombies. The human carnivores essentially earn their fate through their unhealthy/unethical dietary practices, but does it really change anything? Were the flesh eaters not zombies beforehand? I mean, flesh is flesh, right? Are humans not zombies in the eyes of animals?
And then there are the potshots at pop culture: a caricature of Michael Pollan, outspoken criticism of the PETA methods that perpetuate sexism, and the idiocy of mindlessly following any established belief. Agranoff holds nothing so dear in the vegan world that he isn’t willing to give it a long, hard look. I liked this book because the man who wrote it is not a follower. He knows what he believes and he sees the flaws in those beliefs, but recognizes that he has to live in some manner.
The ending was hopeful and unique, perhaps the best ending possible under the circumstances. If nothing else, this book gives readers a lot to think about. I only hope it will cause reluctant, easily bored readers to give some thought to what they eat, much in the same way zombies made them think, for once, about 19th century literature.
Which band will provide the sweet music of the apocalypse?
a) Earth Crisis
b) Minor Threat
d) Impact Unit
Whose veganism can never be trusted?
b) Raw foodists
d) All of the above
This book is…
a) Too meta
b) Just meta enough
c) I don’t know, I’ll have to ask MFSO
d) All of the above