Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Living with the Dead: With Spring Comes the Fall

Living with the Dead:  With Spring Comes the Fall
Written by:  Joshua Guess
Published October 29, 2010
AISN:  B004A14V7S
Available Format:  ebook, blog

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Living with the Dead is basically a collection of fictional blog posts that chronicle the day-to-day life of a group of Kentucky zombie apocalypse survivors as they band together and work to create a new, safe environment for themselves. After the zombie bacteria takes over the world and Josh comes to terms with reality, he quickly begins fortifying his home and gathering as many of his family and friends as possible. Eventually, they make the entire neighborhood a compound and work hard to rebuild their lives again.

I put this book on my to-read list months ago at the recommendation of a friend, but when our JournalJabber listeners requested a zombie themed show, I had to get on this earlier than planned! I was actually quite pleased, thankfully. I am just now working my way back into the horror genre, and I’m happy this is one of the first zombie books I have ever read!

Obviously, since this is written as a blog, it is extremely and refreshingly down-to-earth. Josh is your average Sci-Fi, martial arts, video games kind of guy in a new marriage who suddenly finds himself in the middle of an apocalypse that only his nerdy interests have prepared him for. As Josh is quickly becoming a resourceful leader with the thoughtfulness and ability to journal the events of his life, we’re able to see the inner workings of a survivor compound through real language with real emotion. 

There are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes, but I found myself far more forgiving considering the format of this read. If I were reading it on the blog, which is available at http://www.livingwiththedead.net/, then it would make sense that the author of said blog would not be concerned about whether he spells every word correctly or uses the proper punctuation. He is literally fighting for his life. Who cares about mechanics and grammar?

What really struck me about this book is while the zombies are the initial threat and the driving force behind most of what the residents of the compound are doing, the focus is more on the actual people, those within the compound and those on the outside with whom they come in contact with. It is a brutal picture of what lies at the heart of humanity. If such a tragedy were to strike, this is very much what we can expect. Some will rise up as leaders and reach out to others with the best of intentions—providing shelter, nourishment, safety. Others will be more selfish or even cruel—pillaging, raping, murdering. There are so many instances in this book that Josh is discouraged by the egotistical actions of others, saddened that he must be so distrustful, or downright appalled that he has to murder another human being just to protect himself and his family. It paints a terrible but realistic picture of who we really are.

Josh also brings up some really great points about the American government, which following this catastrophe is literally obliterated. His group is able to start fresh, learning from the mistakes of history and attempting to build a system that is less about appearance and more about the true betterment of society. If they succeed is yet to be seen, but with people like Josh around, there is a good chance they will!

Not once did I become bored with this book, and I am very eager to continue the story! I am completely enraptured in the lives of these survivors. I strongly encourage you to get yourself a copy of Living with the Dead, which will support this great new author! You can then check out the blog at http://www.livingwiththedead.net/.