Review of Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

Not as good as I’d hoped, but there were some great passages, some amazing parts where it felt so real, like I was reading the memoir of a real psychopath and not a fictionalized work from the prim and proper looking Ms. Oates. At times I found it hard to believe the words and phrases had come from her mind, through her own hand.

Realistic – definitely can see the Dahmer influence, although I heard Joyce Carol Oates say in an interview that her inspiration was not only Jeffrey Dahmer, but also Ted Bundy. I didn’t see any of Bundy in this myself. It’s a chilling story – more chilling because it is not made up. Yes, it is fiction, but this stuff – this attempt at creating human zombies for the purposes of sex slavery and ownership – happened. Are there more like Jeffrey Dahmer walking amongst us? This book gives me cause to wonder. And worry.

A well-constructed, albeit hard to get into at first, look at the private thoughts of one man. I did feel that the first 8 chapters were largely unnecessary and would have enjoyed the book more had it begun with chapter 9 (although the chapters are short enough it was okay, though may have been a DNF if I wasn’t so interested in where she was going to take such a story). Chapter 9 is where the writing and details of the thought processes grabs me.

Read this if you have a morbid curiosity about serial killers, specifically Dahmer; if you want to know what a man like this may have been thinking (was probably thinking), how he justified his actions; how his loneliness and anti social personality contradicted each other; and how his lack of regard for human life took him down a path most of us can’t even begin to imagine.

I wish Dahmer could have read this. I’d love to know what he would have thought of it, whether it rang true to him and to his own mental thought processes.