Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
This is also a Zombie World Tour post!
The book started in a very interesting way, with a breakdown of what the governor of Indiana thinks about his state and how it’s kicking the ass of every other state around it. Now, I live in Indiana, and I’m partial to some parts of it, but I don’t know that we’re kicking anyone’s behind. Then the writer goes on to introduce the other main characters, an enormous and infamous state trooper, and a poor black girl stuck with a bunch of really rich and powerful classmates. When thousands of long dead corpses rise and feast, the governor sends his buddy the trooper down to find his daughter and bring her back.
The book isn’t so much peppered with minutiae of the state in general and a couple of areas in particular, as it is smothered in them. The word Hoosier gets used a lot – possibly more than I’ve heard it in all my life as a Hoosier. I understand this is to be Double Dog Sure that we know the book is set in the almost-never-rolled-out-for-fiction state, but it’s nice, especially as I am very familiar with the rural area it’s set in and somewhat familiar with Indianapolis. All is well and good until the writer makes assumptions about rural people. I hadn’t before realized we are all a bunch of murderous, racist asshats simply because we don’t live in a city. (He had made some pretty rude assumptions about rich and powerful people, but I couldn’t tell you if they really are all sociopathically tyrannical since I don’t run in those circles.) This leap made me suddenly and irrevocably dislike the book.
There’s no real information about the author printed on the book, but he is apparently a transplanted Hoosier from NYC, which helps explain his prejudice. I had wondered how he did his research, as it seems more like an author showing off his wikipower than someone who is personally familiar with the area.
As well, he’s repetitive, dragging out some things time and again, like nearly every character’s reaction to the trooper, since nearly every one of them recognizes him. Newsflash: yes, this is a “basketball state”, but not to the point that all of us can be counted on instantly knowing the face of every player from every team – even the smaller schools. Another example is the dogged referral to Hoosiers. Got it. Indiana. Okay.
The writer’s use of language is excellent, with a kind of Stephen King feel. The plot hangs together well, and there is a fair amount of gore and action, though the action drags toward the middle and slows more at the end. The book feels like a high end YA that loses its energy enough to read more like a low end YA by the end.
Speaking of the end, I did enjoy the last three pages. It wasn’t a surprise what happens to that character, only how it happens.
For the most part Zombie, Indiana isn’t a terrible book, and I would give it a qualified recommendation if not for the terrible prejudice the author shows toward rural people. If you consider reading it, just be aware that it’s a fast read that steps gently on the brakes until the soft landing at the end.
- Zombie, Indiana – Official Website
- Scott Kenemore – Author
- What is a Hoosier?
- Indiana University – Go Hoosiers! – Note: Hoosiers is what we call our athletic teams when cheering.
- YA – Stands for Young Adult Literature – Note: CFR has found YA to be very good.
CFR: In Addtion: I saw this book about a month ago in a store and thought “I should buy that for Mildred.” Alas I didn’t, but I’m glad to see Mildred got to read it anyway. Now I am doubly glad she did and I read her review because I do NOT want to read this book. If rural Hoosiers are portrayed as “a bunch of murderous, racist asshats simply because we don’t live in a city” then I don’t need to waste my time on this book. I’ve covered this big city bigotry before – see Media Thoughts: “Wrong Turn”. But if this book looks like your flavor of latte then go for it and enjoy! -M.Lion