Daily Blog #363: Book Review of “Zone One” by Colson Whitehead

Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers!

Today we are reviewing another book, this time, a book of the fiction variety, called “Zone One” which is written by Colson Whitehead.

This book caught my attention when I was searching amazon for zombie centered apocalyptic fiction books, and I stumbled upon this book, which had highly varied reviews. Some people were singing it’s praises, while others complained about the story delivery, angry that the present action only covered three days, and that the storytelling timeline continued to shift from past to present.

Me, holding “Zone One” By Colson Whitehead

This never bothers me, as I believe plenty of good stories, especially ones that cater to apocalypse fiction loving, zombie content needing nerds like me, are told this way. You want the reader, the content consumer, to get the zombies and apocalyptic content they came for, but you want to show how characters arrived where they are, who they are, and why they think the way they think. For these reasons, I have no problem with this sort of storytelling, so these reviews were easily dismissible. I was worried about the length of the primary story arc only being three days, the book being divided into three parts, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, BUT, one key part of the reviews stuck on, and ultimately forced me to click “Add to Cart” and “Check Out”.

The way readers discussed the use of marketing, the use of capitalism, the way even in the apocalypse, brand names mattered (the reason, however, was humorous).

So, for these reasons, I bought the book, and spent a few days (I read when I take my evening bubble baths)

The book opens telling you all about how the main character always wanted to live in NYC, before explaining that Mark Spitz was helping clear buildings in the great city, to remove any lingering zombies, to expand the safe zone of the city, Zone One, so humans could start resettling the city.

Why they would decide to pick NYC was a mystery to me, and to plenty others, but, in the end it was chalked up to the way it would “look” and, the way it would prove humans can always overcome odds. Also worth noting, the vanity of humans wanting to prove we can overcome anything and Americans want to show off, on an international level, by having NYC clear and habitable once more. This is established later in the book, however, so, we can leave it be for now.

As I have been trying to avoid too many spoilers, I won’t go into all the awesome details that make up the story but know this.

The survivors have made up a makeshift military, with most of this section being civilian survivors who took up assignment. The survivors have created colonies, all named cheesy happy go lucky names to make the place seem better, more marketable- Think Happy Acres.

Survivors who once had stakes in major companies come to these survivor camps and dedicate resources from their companies to the future, which is why when soldiers are out and about, they can only scavenge goods that haven’t been spoken for.

The survivors also look to these camps for happy news, including the case of the triplets that were born against all odds. As the story goes on, we learn all about each of the survivors and what makes them move forward.

And we even learn how Mark Spitz got his nickname. Some of you may recognize the name, comment if you do!

I will say there was a moment when I thought I may hate the book, but I don’t want to spoil it, so I will let that surprise you when you read Zone One. It is an excellent read with fun takes on modern capitalism in the apocalyptic wasteland, and even has some good guidance for the survivalist minded reader, including a tip found in Flake City, have a go bag at the exit.

This book is definitely worth the purchase and read, so if you can find a bookstore Amazon hasn’t put out of business, grab it, otherwise, you can order it on Amazon and still support an amazing writer, Colson Whitehead.

I personally wish he would write more apocalyptic fiction books, but it seems this may be a one off, but he does have several other wonderful and well-reviewed books so check out Zone One, or the author, Colson Whitehead.

Thanks for reading,



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