Any Zombie fans out there? I wasn’t, until the series Walking Dead came on and only then because one of my favorite actors was starring in it (Norman Reedus as Daryl…sigh). The problem with zombies is that the gross factor is pretty high. They are dead and their bodies are rotting. Thinking skills are almost non-existent – except for the thought of the next (gulp) meal of flesh. I mean really, there’s not much to like about them. Still, I just read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, which is about the Unconsecrated or zombie infestation that has spread world-wide, wiping out most of the population. The real story, though, is one of hope and faith and dreams…with a really gross backdrop of moaning, thrashing, limb-dropping, decaying, smelly zombies.
All of her life, Mary’s mother had told her stories of “outside” and the ocean that waits for them. The ocean is endless water as far as the eye could see with shining sands of the purest gold. Mary sleeps dreaming of tasting salt and feeling the water wash over her feet. When she wakes, however, it’s to a nightmare world where the Sisters and the Guardians fight to keep their small village alive and safe from the Unconsecrated. Years ago, something horrible happened and a virus was let loose on the world. In very short order, people who used to be living, breathing human beings were turned into walking corpses with a savage hunger for flesh and blood. Small pockets of people dot the earth, completely cut off from one another. Mary’s village is ruled with the iron hand of the Sisters. Their stone cathedral is where all teaching and praying goes on. One horrible day, Mary’s mother wanders too close to the fence meant to protect them and is bitten. In a matter of hours, she dies then…returns. Mary makes the desperate decision to release the creature who once loved and nurtured her to the forest. After her brother rejects her for the decision she made, Mary is taken in by the Sisters, destined for a life of servitude. The only problem was that Mary didn’t believe in God. She couldn’t bring herself to pray or to forget the stories her mother told her. She’s too curious and that unquenchable desire to KNOW changes the path of her life forever.
Reading about Mary’s unshakable faith that the ocean is out there waiting for her is what impressed me the most. No matter what people told her or what secrets she found out about the Sisters, her conviction that, not only was the ocean out there but that one day, she would reach it. Her belief transcends Religion’s view of faith. Or maybe it embodies it? I don’t know but I do wish with all my heart that I had an ounce of her faith and her strength to follow her beliefs no matter what! Especially, in the face of such truly gruesome creatures as zombies!!!
My boss says that if you’re a zombie fan, you should definitely read Pride & Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. I’m going to give it a try, after I’ve finished the Forest of Hands and Teeth books (The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places)
Night of the Living Dead. 1990. Columbia Pictures. Britannica Image Qust. Web.
14 Nov. 2011. <http://quest.eb.com/media/