Book and Smoothie Pairing: Warm Bodies and Blueberry Raisin Bread Apocalypse

warm bodiesTake a sip of some gray matter then immerse yourself in a comedic, heartwarming  tale of zombies longing for brains and redemption.

This is it folks. If you’ve ever wanted to laugh out loud while simultaneously cringing, Warm Bodies is the book for you. And the Blueberry Raisin Bread Apocalypse Smoothie is the perfect drink to ease any queasiness you might feel while digesting graphic depictions of brain consumption.

The Best They Can Do

Imagine you’re a zombie for a moment. You’ve got cravings and not just for brains. If you’re R, you’ve got cravings for beauty, excitement and life – and you know how to get it. By eating brains.

You could take this craving at face value, but I like to draw parallels to real life. Humanity has cravings. We can’t stand monotony and we desire experiences that make us feel alive from head to toe. Unfortunately, nothing can fully satisfy us, and we end up feeling empty after our resources have dried up and the high has subsided. After R consumes his drug of choice, he explains the sensation as, “Not ‘good’ exactly, not ‘happy,’ certainly not ‘alive,’ but . . . a little less dead. This is the best we can do.”

The Best We Can Do

Julie is a lucky girl. She’s got an intelligent and compassionate zombie by her side in a world of post-apocalyptic carnage. Before she met R, Julie was a wreck. Her mother ran away from the family when Julie was a child, leaving Julie with nothing but an emotionally detached, zombie-hating father.

But when R looks at this beautiful girl, he sees life – not life he wants to consume, but life he wants to protect for a reason he cannot understand. Although he’s a zombie, R can sense that life is worth protecting.

As humans, we don’t always believe this, especially when our own lives are painful and tumultuous. Sometimes, the “aliveness” we feel is just too much. We want to escape it, and feel nothing, slipping into a zombie-like state of drunkenness.

According to Julie, “All the shitty stuff people do to themselves . . . it can all be the same thing, you know? Just a way to drown out your own voice. To kill your memories without having to kill yourself.”

The grass is always greener.

The Alarm Clock

If you’ve never experienced the alarm clock battle, you are not human. No matter how much you love life and believe you have a purpose, your reluctance to get out of bed in the morning might suggest otherwise. Perry, another human suffering through the zombie apocalypse, describes this battle as such, “All my life I have battled the alarm clock, pummeling the snooze button over and over with mounting self-loathing until the shame is finally strong enough to lever me upright.”

How often have I felt the tension between two opposing forces – one that desires to rise and live out my purpose for life in whatever form it takes that day, and another that desires comfort more than purpose. My self-loathing is never greater than when I’m “trapped” in my bed in the morning, unable to make my weak body do what my will desires it to do.

Why Zombies?

“I don’t think it’s from any spell or virus or nuclear rays. I think it’s from a deeper place. I think we brought it here.”

Julie’s insightfulness – and R’s for that matter – is one thing that makes this book so worth reading. The human condition has been analyzed by philosophers for centuries, and no matter what your spiritual (or non-spiritual) beliefs, we all generally agree on one thing: Humanity is in trouble. Despite our best intentions, we are bent on destruction. There is a cost to voraciously seeking comfort, aliveness, peace and excitement. When we have a desire, we will stop at nothing: Suck the life out of fellow humans who we need to validate our existence? Yep. Harm fellow humans who stand in the way of our desires? Absolutely.

My rant has a purpose, I promise.  Basically, what I’m trying to say is Isaac Marion’s writing has turned me on to the zombie genre in a way I never expected. I’ve never particularly liked zombies, but now, I somehow love them. I feel compassion for them. Isaac Marion has made zombies relatable, and I’ll never view them the same way again.

“We released it. We poked through the seabed and the oil erupted, painted us black, pulled our inner sickness out for everyone to see. Now here we are in this dry corpse of a world, rotting on our feet till there’s nothing left but bones and the buzz of flies.”

Now, go make yourself a smoothie!

Blueberry Raisin Bread Apocalypse

  • Milk
  • Crap-ton of blueberries
  • One slice of raisin bread
  • A dollop (a shapeless blob) of crunchy peanut butter
  • A dollop of vanilla yogurt
  • Protein power (if you want to be extra healthy)
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