Dude, it’s the zombie apocalypse. What are you going to do? Turn to page…
Sure, zombie lit is starting to stretch itself a little thin. But with a range of books, from World War Z to the recent spate of rom-zom-coms, there’s no denying the subgenre covers all manner of sins. So why not mine a beloved series of children’s books from the age of MTV? In this case, ad man Brallier (Toilet Trivia, 2009, etc.) sucks the life out of Edward Packard’s famous Choose Your Own Adventure series, updates it with a blazing amount of profanity and violence, and turns the concept into a fun pastiche of B-movie zombie fantasy and interactive horror novel. Here’s the deal: You’re a 25-year-old corporate drone living in an overpriced hole in Manhattan. It’s hot in the city in July and you’re hungover to boot, sweating it through a boring meeting with not a Krispy Kreme in sight. Brallier nails the imperative language that characterizes Packard’s series, and the surprise of integrating adult humor into the mix boosts the funny considerably. Not to mention the fact that the author has an adolescent’s sense of humor—emphatically honest—as to what a guy would really say in the situation. “You sit in your stupid uncomfortable chair, stunned, unable to move,” Brallier writes. "Words dance around your brain along with images from comics and movies—and then finally you blurt out, to no one in particular, ‘Zombies, Zombies…ZOMBIES! THE LIVING FUCKING DEAD!' ” Oh, the choices you’ll make. Guns or the axe? Hang with the biker gang or take out the zombie strippers? Anyone who grew up before the Internet will embrace the style, especially with updated options like this one: “If you’ve got balls the size of coconuts and you want to risk your life to save the boy, turn to page 96.”
A boy’s own adventure that breathes a little well-deserved juvenile humor into the apocalypse.