Review of Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament

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Photo from Google

Amanda Mourelatos, Associate Editor in Chief

Warning: there are spoilers within this article.

S.G. Browne’s Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament is, by far, one of the best books I’ve ever read. This book is about a man named Andy Warner. He was in a car crash with his wife and daughter; he was killed and reanimated, his wife Rachel died, and his daughter Annie survived. After reanimating, Andy goes through his non-life trying to fight for zombie justice and find his own purpose, or why he was given a sort of second chance at life. He decides to attend a zombie support group where he meets Rita, Jerry, Naomi, Helen, and a few other zombies who are struggling, like Andy, to figure out why they were given the gift (or curse) of reanimation. A couple of different occurrences in the article were foreshadowed really well, or huge surprises.

This story begins 2 months after Andy came back to life. The scene is set in his kitchen with Andy laying on the floor with a bottle of overly expensive wine in his hand, and as he woke up he locks eyes with his parents’ heads in his freezer. So, right off the bat, I was hooked. I thought, “Woah, what happened? This is crazy! How did he die? How did he reanimate? What happened to Andy’s parents?” Then it went back two months to when Andy has just become a zombie. For the longest time, he was just your ordinary zombie living in his parent’s wine cellar and watching whatever was on TV. Throughout the story, Andy and his friends slowly become more adventurous and rebellious to the zombie curfew and laws.

The group of zombies met another fellow reanimated guy named Ray. Ray was a super chill zombie that offered food he called venison and beers for his new friends. The group started to hang out with Ray more and ate more of his jars of venison. Throughout time, the zombies began to heal. What?! It turns out the “venison” was actually Breather, which is what the humans were called. After they knew what they were eating, they grew hungrier and hungrier. This, I definitely did not expect. Going into this book, I didn’t really know what the conflict was or would be; and I didn’t expect it to have to do with zombies actually developing a craving for human flesh. This book made the zombies seem anti-eating-humans, but that was wrong. Now, the group didn’t begin killing zombies until Andy drunkenly killed his nuisance of parents. Anyways, the Breather helped to heal the zombies back to an almost-natural state. Andy and Rita got their pulses back, a lot of the others looked much healthier, and their scars healed.

One night, him and Rita were out for a walk and she grabbed his hand; this is where Andy noticed his love interest in Rita and his guilt because of his deceased wife. In my opinion, this is where it started to get good. Rita and Andy began to identify their attraction in each other, and they don’t hold back. They create a strong relationship, get pregnant, and plan to move to Scotland after Andy gets shot by a cop and becomes famous through all forms of media. That is, until Rita and Jerry get burned to death by some frat boys. This part made my jaw drop to the floor. I still can’t believe that after all this, they don’t get their happily ever after.

Overall, this is an incredibly original book that I wished I discovered sooner. It takes a unique spin on the original zombie stories and is relatively comical in the narration. Browne gave a really nice touch on all of the characters in making their personalities different from each other and in broadening the ideas of the characteristics that define them. The foreshadowing and sudden events kept me on the very edge of my seat. I definitely suggest this book for anyone who loves zombies, horror, comedy, or romance novels. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give this book a 9.