Positive by David Wellington (5 out of 5)
Telling someone to be positive takes on a whole new, creepier meaning in this page-turning book. I like zombie novels. But this is a bit more than a zombie novel. I kept texting my coworker when I got done reading it that it was his new book. I try to find books for Matt to enjoy. The last couple, I’ve done well. This one? I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. I mean- seriously good. And reading parts of it made me yearn for root vegetables. So in turn, I texted my coworker about the book, telling him the title was “Root Vegetable Massacre”. Of course, that’s not it. I joked about it being called “The Possession”. Then I texted him a bunch of strange metaphors for it. I’ll leave it simple here and say I loved it. A lot.
Many years have passed since a plague has decimated most of the population. Finn and his family live in a barricaded part of New York City. No matter how you try to outrun an infectious plague (see “The Stand” by Stephen King, for further reference), it’s often living right next door- or with you. In this case, in his mother. Finn’s got the positive sign tattooed on his wrist- and now a two year incubation period to prove he’s not infected with the deadly plague. He realizes he’s going to be sent to the facility where the others in the same situation are at, to keep from infecting others. On his way, his escort is killed, and Finn is on his own in a sparsely wooded area, full of no one but other devious signs of nature- not to mention bloodthirsty, evil driven humans. And zombies. And humans. There are so many moments throughout the book where you just don’t know what the fuck is going to happen and when, and the shit gets scared out of you (wear a diaper). The reality of the broken down shell of the world that is left after the apocalypse, the politics involved with what’s left, and the barest necessity of living in that with no guarantees of anything or anyone remaining unscathed- pretty scary. And Wellington does a bang-up job of writing that environment. Finn’s having to survive in the wilderness of his worst nightmare? Reading it as written by Wellington reminded me a lot of the novel version of “The Revenant”, a movie that I loved to death. The triumph of the human spirit, versus the bloodthirsty whore of Mother Nature? Nothing like it, my friends. Zombies and bloodshed? Nothing like it, my friends. I enjoyed this book a ton. Go pick up a copy.