Book Review

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen - A Guest Review by Carrie S.

B-

Title: Married with Zombies
Author: Jesse Petersen
Publication Info: Orbit September 2010
ISBN: 978-0316102865
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Book CoverCarrie S. sent me this guest review – which to my surprise matched very well with my own review, which I wrote before I read hers, so I decided to run them both.

OK, first of all, can I just say, “EWWWWWWWWWW”.

And also, “BWAHAHAHAHA”.

That’s my whole book review, basically.  What follows is just filler. 

Married With Zombies opens, as so many magazine columns have, with the question, “Can this marriage be saved?”.  Sarah and David are totally sick of each other.  He fills the CD changer in the car with Whitesnake, and she hates Whitesnake.  She argues with him about everything, and he just wants to be left alone.  Fortunately for the marital relations of our bickering couple, it turns out that a zombie outbreak has taken over their town (Seattle).  Hilariously, their first real clue is when they find their marriage therapist eating her previous patients.  Sarah and David quickly discover that the relationship rules they had gathered from self-help books and their now deceased therapist come in handy for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

This book is hilarious, particularly in the opening chapters.  Each chapter starts with relationship tips, for example, “Put the small stuff into perspective.  It’s better to be wrong and alive than right but eating brains”.  I love the way the dissolving marriage consists almost entirely of irritation.  Sarah, the narrator, describes this stage:  “By the time we were driving…toward Dr. Erica Kelly’s tidy, sterile little office, I was just going through the motions of therapy and making a mental list of all the things I didn’t like anymore about my husband”.  By itself, that line is so sad, but in context it just cracks me up – haven’t we all caught ourselves doing that?  No?  Just me?  Oh, oopsie, let’s move on.  As the book progresses, the joke wears off a bit, but those first chapters are great, and so is the discovery of what zombies do for fun in Las Vegas. 

Be warned – the novel is also oh, so, disgusting.  I guess having a tidy zombie story would be as deeply wrong as a story in which vampires sparkle in the sun instead of bursting into flames.  Still, there’s only so much gore I can take, and I reached my quota by page 18.  If you are a zombie fan, this will be nothing new, but ew, ew, ew.  There’s not much sex in the book, which is a relief, because what with all the blood and vomit and slime there is simply no room for any other bodily fluids.  This is the least erotic romance novel I have ever read.  To be fair, the spine of the book lists it as “fantasy” and Borders and Barnes and Noble both carry it under “science fiction/horror”, so my expectations may have been unrealistic.  So – gore, yes, sexxoring, hells no.

Married With Zombies is tightly written, entertaining, and fast-paced, and worth a read just for the great opening chapters and the chapter titles.  But it fails to really dig in to the relationship between the protaganists.  We really never know that much about Sarah and David and don’t have a real reason to root for them to stay together.  In fact, what we do know of them is annoying.  Sarah is self-centered and obsessed with clothes.  David pouts a lot and wants to be taken seriously, or something.  They grow as a couple in that David acknowledges that his career choices have placed a huge burden on Sarah, while Sarah stops second-guessing David and lets him take over in alpha-male style.  Disclosure – I can’t stand books where the couple survives because the woman lets the guy revel in his alpha-ness.  The book is built around their relationship, but since it never really fleshes out the relationship the story falls flat.

The other problem with the book is that it is built around one joke – surviving the zombie apocalypse is like surviving marriage.  It’s a great joke, and it starts strong, but it doesn’t really take off enough to sustain the whole book There’s something very darkly satirical about the notion that “the couple that slays together, stays together”.  As the book progresses, the focus becomes less on the satire and more on the running around and surviving.  I never felt that the book really followed it’s premise as far as it could go.  It’s fine light reading, but it could have been so much more.

Ah, the conclusion.  I love reading and I love writing, but I HATE assigning grades.  I might hurt the author’s feelings!  I might mislead the reading public!  Oh, God, the pressure is intolerable!  This is a fun, light read for fans of Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.  You’ll enjoy it while you read it and completely forget about it five minutes after you finish.  Like the afore-mentioned movies, Married With Zombies uses the zombie apocalypse to say something about relationships and society, but unlike the movies, it fails to fully explore its premise.  In terms of romance, there’s not a lot exciting go on in terms of character or chemistry.  I have fond feelings towards this book because the promotional quiz says that my marriage will survive the zombie onslaught, at least until I am eaten, which seems probable since I am slow and uncoordinated.  So, since it wavers between a C+ and a sold B, I’m gonna give it a B- with a “mileage may vary” waiver attached.  Have fun, and don’t eat spaghetti during the read or expect to get turned on (unless there is something very, very wrong with you).  You have been warned.


Married with Zombies is available from Amazon, Powells, Book Depository, and BN.com.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Erin says:

    Um, I just have to say that I love your two-line “whole book review”.  Because after reading all the “filler”, I think those lines seem to sum it up pretty well!

  2. 2
    SheaLuna says:

    I disagree with the “Ew” only because I luuuurves me some zombie apocalypse.  And I read The Stand.  So, it takes a lot to gross me out.  But I can see how for most normal people, it could be kinda “ew”. :-D

  3. 3
    Gwynnyd says:

    I do not understand the romance of zombies. Hott vampires, cuddly weres – Ok, I can see it. Disintegrating body parts and rotting bits, maybe not so much.

    Wandering off to find something to read with only living people in it…

  4. 4
    Carrie says:

    Here is my pledge to you, dear readers – the next review I write, I will edit the hell out of.  As will my husband, mother, and everyone else I know.  I have typos – it’s SO embarrassing.  Please forgive me.  It’s “going on”, not “go on, “solid”, not “sold”, and for the love of God, there’s no apostrophe in “its” when used to denote ownership!  Dear lord, I must be succumbing to the zombie virus already!  Braiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnssssss…

    Also, just to be clear, no zombies engage in romance in this book.  For which I, for one, am deeply grateful.

  5. 5
    Miriam says:

    Braaaaaiiiiiiins.

    (I think I need to get myself a copy of this book, stat)

  6. 6
    sugarless says:

    I loved it. I mean, the review is absolutely right, it’s not deep or meaningful, but I have a soft spot for zombie apocalypses, and absolutely no problem with gore. (but I would have been really skeezed out if they put sex in this book. I’m all about sex scenes but they would just be wrooooooooooong here) And yeah, Gwennyd, the protagonists themselves aren’t zombies, they’re just fighting them.

  7. 7
    oyunlar1 says:

    I do not understand the romance of zombies.

  8. 8
    megsan says:

    I guess having a tidy zombie story would be as deeply wrong as a story in which vampires sparkle in the sun instead of bursting into flames.

    ke ke ke

  9. 9
    LiJuun says:

    I LOVED this book!  Now I’m in the process of loaning it to all my friends and squirming until the sequel comes out.

    Just a point – when Sarah lets David take over alpha-male style – that ended horribly.  Which I loved. 

    I like this couple, but I hate them, too.  The way I see it, they’re obnoxious twits now, but I expect them to be a lot different in later books (they already were a lot more likeable by the end of this book).  At first I thought Sarah was a picky little snitface and felt sorry for David, but then he started to annoy me, too, and . . . they just felt like real people.  And I like them enough to root for them, that’s for sure.  Mostly because the more annoying they are, the funnier they are in that moment.  Which may be why the book gets slightly less funny throughout – because they’re growing up a bit and picking at each other less.

    I’m surprised at how much I’m loving the fighting between these two, actually.  It cracks me up.

  10. 10
    Tiffany sale says:

    I’m surprised at how much I’m loving the fighting between these two, actually.  It cracks me up.

  11. 11
    Mia says:

    I read this some months ago, enjoyed it, and handed it off to my brother, who’s with the state police.  He liked it too!

    B-, B+ sounds about right. It’s a great fast read, and the relationships that develop, especially between the heroine and her sister-in-law, suggest the heart of gold beneath the zombie skin (so to speak).  Nice Halloween read!

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