Verdict: A satirical and entertaining read for chick lit lovers with a fascination for self help books, zombies (and men).
When Hattie Cross, a magazine writer at The Daily Scoopage and author of The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies, researches a story and unwittingly uncovers a major story that could change the world as she knows it.
It is the year 2020 and nearly every man has been turned into zombies by a plague, which began in November, 2000. When Hattie is assigned to do a profile on Matilda Stansfield, who invented the Geiser and Meyser’s zombaceutical industry, Hattie hopes that this can be one of those “thoughtful pieces with impact” like the one about the zombie apocalypse that she keeps proposing to her editor.
While giving Hattie a tour of her lab, Matilda introduces Hattie to the human male lab director Jake Maddox. Jake happens to be a real man with no signs of zombification. When Hattie delves deeper, she discovers information and a conspiracy behind the zombie plague, but she has to find someone whom she can trust with the information before the attack zombies destroy her.
At first The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies looks as though it’s a straightforward satire of a dating book (but with zombies) because the first chapter features the introduction of the book: The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies, in which the author helps the reader “understand and navigate the challenges and rewards of the zombie-dating lifestyle.” However, the next chapter cuts to a television interview where the author Hattie Cross, (not Lynn Messina) is being interviewed about her book: The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies. The next chapters continue with Hattie’s story, and also include further chapters from her book.
Author Lynn Messina has created a realistic world filled with pseudo-scientific theories and dating jargon that satirizes the relationships between women and men and the zombie culture. The “scientific” explanation that men were infected with a virus that attached itself to the Y chromosome and systematically turned all men into zombies and the steps needed to make the zombies more attractive to women as per the dating guide are well developed and presented: “Make love with zombies. Physical contact doesn’t have to be icky or gross. With the right accessories and hygiene products, the fetid flesh of a zombie can smell as lovely as a garden rose.”
The parallels between men and zombies are clear and often quite humorous:
“Nobody wants to date a zombie. They’re smelly, sloppy, mushy, uncommunicative and clueless in bed. They lose body parts at inconvenient times and rarely, if ever, notice your cute new haircut…The human male wasn’t perfect. Some were sloppy. Some smelled. Some were mushy. Many were unable to effectively communicate their needs or understand a woman’s. Many more didn’t know a G-spot from a G clef.”
“Kissing a zombie isn’t for everyone. It’s certainly not for me. But that’s a decision each woman should be free to make. I think of kissing as the equivalent to what used to be described as swallowing.”
Messina’s characters are for the most part light caricature characters from the fashion world. Hattie is the sweet, twenty six year old single woman who is also a frustrated writer and her love interest, who is a fantasy that she can’t quite fathom at times for numerous reasons. The story and characters remain airy for the first third of the book, but when Hattie discovers information vital to the understanding of the Zombpocalypse, the tone of the story changes and there is more character and plot development that holds the reader’s attention.
A satirical and entertaining read for chick lit lovers with a fascination for self help books, zombies (and men).
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
Purchase The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies from Amazon