Opposite of what usually happens, I saw the movie Warm Bodies first, loved it, and then sought out the book (I promise, not all of the books I read have been made into movies. It just happens quite often). Although the movie was pretty great, the book was wonderful. The book took the whole premise of “zombie-ness” and added a spiritual component, which the movie seems to have skipped almost completely. Marion’s novel had a philosophical and emotional depth that the movie didn’t quite capture. The film seemed to be more lighthearted and comical, where the novel was darker, more cynical. Julie and R face more than opposition from normal social ideas. They have to deal with her alcoholic father and his unsupportive friend and wife, both zombies. R also has to cope with the soul of Julie’s boyfriend and R’s last meal, Perry, who finds himself stuck in R’s mind while Julie and R struggle to make a place in the world for a love like theirs (that sounds SO CORNY, sorry!).
I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet. Basically, I fell in love with R’s outlook and attitude. He’s different from the other zombies, he wants to be something more than a mindless eating machine. R has so many thoughts and feelings that he wants to communicate, but he can’t find a way to externalize them. “In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.” In one sentence R (well I guess Isaac Marion, but I’m going to keep pretending these characters exist) summed up everything I feel when I try to communicate. Those who know me, know I’m an awful story teller. There’s always a whole lot of middle, and no discernible beginning or end. I’m also pretty well known for saying very silly, blonde sounding things. And none of those were meant to sound like they did. So R, I’m with you. I feel your pain.
The other part of the story that struck a chord with me was the sense of urgency in Julie and R to make a change, to affect their society in a way that would last. My favourite quote from this book was “What wonderful thing didn’t start out scary?” I love this concept, the idea that anything worth having or doing takes a little work. I especially love this quote because I am one of those people who is afraid of change, who hates making decisions, who is afraid to jump into the unknown. “What wonderful thing didn’t start out scary?” What a wonderful way to remind those of us afraid to jump, afraid to fall, that nothing worth having comes easily. So thanks for that, Isaac Marion.
The last thing I will say about Warm Bodies is I appreciated the comments that were made on society and the self involvement and prejudice that consumes us. This idea is much more obvious in the movie than the book, however it is still present. This part of the story just reinforced the idea and reminded me to stop and smell the roses every once and a while (sorry, corny again I know). All of the zombies were so alone and individualized, and we have our families, friends, coworkers, et cetera, et cetera. So maybe stop and smell those roses with one of them? Yeah, that’s a good idea. Appreciate the roses around you with the roses of your life (man, I’m on a role with the corny today). Anyway, don’t take the people you love for granted. And don’t judge people based on whether they are a zombie or not… or something along those lines.
Overall, Warm Bodies exceeded my expectations. I loved the movie, I loved the book, and I loved the ideas it presents and the comments it makes on the state of our self involved, closed minded society.