Grasping for the Wind Rotating Header Image

Book Review: Zombies for Zombies by David P. Murphy

# Genre: Parody, Humor, Nonfiction
# Paperback: 272 pages
# Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
# Publication Date: October 2009
# ISBN-10: 140222012X
# ISBN-13: 978-1402220128
# Author Website: David P. Murphy

Debut author David P. Murphy creates a parody of the classic and ubiquitous Dummies series of books with his Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead. Illustrated ably throughout by Daniel Heard, this book turns a horror staple into a special interest group with problems just like everybody else (that is, if eating human brains is something you also enjoy).

Taking the position that zombies are not “undead” but rather “post-life” Murphy posits a world where there are two types of zombies. The first, known as the Horde, are the mindless, brain eating zombies we are all familiar with. Post-lifers, on the other hand, are slowly becoming mindless, still enjoy eating brains, but are much less dangerous to humans, and get to live on wonderful, government funded ranches known as the Scarlet Shores. This “motivational guide” for the recently bitten, is meant to teach the reader what he or she needs to do to avoid becoming one of the Horde, because “they are, as the sociologists say, icky”.

Murphy has written a book that attempts to convince the reader that being a “post-lifer” is no different than being alive (except for the losing the mind, shambling, and brain-eating stuff) and can even be better. Of course, only if they take the right pills and read this book in the next 72 hours. Murphy’s overly positive tone is full of sardonic wit, and even though Murphy has a tendency to poke fun at political and religious conservatives over liberals when given a choice, his jokes are funny and full of a wry humor.

Fair warning, Murphy covers all aspects of “post-life” including sex. The sex section includes illustrations that while funny, are not appropriate for children. So keep the book out of the hands of children.

But the book itself reads comfortably. Though written as a satire in the form of a self-help book, it is very easy to take this book and read it from beginning to end. As each chapter passes by, Murphy gives hints and glints of a whole story behind the existence of zombies. The jokes are funny, in a Demetri Martin, Jay Leno kind of way. Sort of taking the mundane and showing how ridiculous of funny it is if you put a slightly different spin on it. The Dummies format is also used to Murphy’s humorous advantage, from lists which include “brains” more than once to footnotes that make fun of what came before, to icons appropriate for zombies.

If you are into zombies, Zombies for Zombies is a great addition to your collection. And if zombies are not your thing, then this is still a great piece of humor that effectively parodies our modern world. And if you are one of the recently bitten, “read this book like there’s no tomorrow, because in your case tomorrow isn’t what it used to be.”