world war z by m brooks

World_War_Z_book_cover  While I’ve been stalling to write reviews for a few books I’ve finished over the past couple of weeks, my husband decided to contribute a review for my beloved blog!  What a supportive sport. Enjoy!  Meanwhile, please excuse me if I bombard you with a string of reviews.

The book World War Z by Max Brooks and the movie starring Brad Pitt are extremely different.  The movie develops Brad Pitt’s character as a brilliant hero traversing the world to solve, if only temporarily, a zombie apocalypse.  The book, on the contrary, lacks a protagonist; it’s a collection of interviews with people looking back on the outbreak and examining how it unfolded around the world, and how it was eventually contained.   Apart from the presence of zombies (note: key theme!) and a few strands of common plot, there isn’t a lot of overlap.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t work though.

I watched the movie first and read the book almost immediately.  To my surprise this sequence worked in an unusual way.  Rather than the more typical case of the book overshadowing the movie in terms of plot and details, the book serves as an “accompaniment” to the movie.  The movie provided depth and continuity in structure needed for the story to develop.  It provided the plot’s breadth in a bite sized manner and the satisfaction of a (more) complete story.  In comparison, the book was linearly developed with many different perspectives from people around the world like the story’s overall news feed.  It’s most engaging contribution lies in the description of mankind’s response – how different regions react initially to organize a defense strategy that also leads to executing unpleasant decisions that cannot accommodate for every citizen.

The combination of watching the movie and reading the book yielded a richer experience overall.  Frankly, my reading experience was rather jarring.  Granted that’s the whole structural premise of the book, but for anyone who values character development the book is sub par and the wholesome reading enjoyment is taken away.  For me, it’s 3.5/5 for the book standalone (for the creative plot line and making it all seem plausible).  But paired with the movie, I’ll give the book a 4/5 as they complement one another successfully.

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