Book Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga (Series, #1)
The first in a prequel trilogy that relates how the baddest villain of The Walking Dead’s zombie apocalypse came to be–not just how he came to rule Woodbury, but how he became an evil sociopath.
Wow. Just wow. If I could be a good book blogger and just say that I would, but I can’t so I suppose I must attempt to put my love for this book into words.
First of all, it’s important to know that this is sort of a prequel to The Walking Dead graphic novels. It’s the origin story of The Governor (aka one of the most evil comic book villains ever). Only instead of sticking to his graphic novel format, Kirkman, with the assistance of Bonansinga, went with the written word. Now, I was offered this book as an audiobook, and I have to say this really affected my reading of it. The reader, Fred Berman, does an absolutely amazing job. He has a natural standard American accent, but seamlessly slips into a Southern drawl when the characters speak. Beyond this though he is able to bring the anguish and tensity to the survival scenes that is necessary without seeming melodramatic. It reminded me of being read to by my own father when I was a little girl. I found myself choosing to curl up with the audiobook over many other activities. So. I’m not sure if the experience is the same reading it yourself. I do know that listening to the audiobook is a remarkable experience.
Now, this is a zombie apocalypse horror novel about an evil man. It gets uncomfortable. Kirkman and Bonansinga bring us inside the minds of men warped by situations and psychiatric problems alike. It’s not pretty. It makes you squirm. But it’s supposed to. Some reviewers have accused this book of being misogynistic because bad things seem to happen an awful lot to the female characters. I have a couple of things to say about that. First of all, hello, do you live in this world? Because women have to survive a lot of bad shit. Second, this is an apocalypse. Think of it as a war zone. Do women get molested, raped, murdered, treated as less strong and unequal? Absolutely. The book isn’t misogynistic. It’s realistic about how a south torn apart by zombies would treat women. The way to determine if a book in this sort of situation is misogynistic is to look at how the author treats the women. Does he present them as hysterical, over-reacting? Do they refuse to stand up for themselves? I can unequivocally say that although horrible things happen to the women in this book, they fight for themselves. It is therefore not misogynistic, but realistic.
Now one thing that probably a lot of people wonder is is the story predictable? We already know who The Governor is and that he keeps his zombie daughter as a pet. That would seem to remove the ability for the authors to surprise us at all. I am happy to say that in spite of knowing the end result, this story kept me on the edge of my seat. Some readers didn’t like all of the surprises and twists. Personally, I feel that they brought the novel up a notch in both talent and enjoyability.
Overall, this is a wonderful addition to The Walking Dead canon. Fans of the graphic novel series will not be disappointed, although fans of the tv show seem to be taken aback by it. All I can say is that the books don’t pull any punches and are not for the squeamish. If you don’t want to be challenged, stick to tv. Everyone else should scoop this up as soon as possible.
5 out of 5 stars
Source: Copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and a giveaway
Hello my lovely readers! Sorry for the relatively smaller amount of reviews this week. I’ve finished a few books, but didn’t have the time to write up the reviews yet. This just means next week will be full.
I have a relatively serious topic I want to talk about today. You guys know that I take health and the obesity epidemic seriously. One argument that I’ve heard a lot of unhealthy women make is that they put on a ton of weight to avoid men. They weren’t comfortable with the attention, etc… I remember thinking, when I, at the time, was overweight myself, “How bad could it really be?” Turns out…..pretty bad.
Over the last year, I’ve gone from a size 16 to a size 10. Over the last month, I’ve had more encounters with men who feel entitled to my body than I had over the entire two years I was overweight. I know correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but in some cases it does.
I’m a single lady. I date. I go places where single people hang out to try to meet new people. I do what single people in cities do. I dress attractively, because I WANT to, but also because I’ve worked damn HARD for this body, and I’m proud of my work. I’m not saying I’m Miss America, and I wouldn’t want to be, but I definitely look happy and healthy when I go out. Much more so than when I was overweight. I get hit on. I get asked on dates. This also happened when I was overweight. The difference, though, is that now when I dare to say the word no a much higher percentage of them get downright angry at me.
He’ll say something like, “Do you want to go on a date?” I say, “No, thank you.” He says, “WHY?! Think you’re too good for me?!” or “Well you shouldn’t dress that way if you don’t want attention” or “Please, you obviously need a good fucking.” (I am not exaggerating. These all have been spoken or texted or what have you to me).
Worse, though, is I’ll go on a first date. Usually dinner or drinks. I have a nice enough time, but I can tell we wouldn’t work long-term, and I want a relationship at this point in my life. He leans in for a kiss, and I turn my cheek or he asks me for a second date and I say no I don’t think it’ll work out. The reaction generally is, “You owe me, I bought you dinner!” or “How can you possibly know after only one date?!” or “Well, I thought you were ugly anyway.” (That last one, btw, makes zero sense since he ASKED ME OUT TO START WITH).
What really aggravates me about these interactions isn’t their disappointment that I said no. Obviously, that is flattering. What is bothersome is the evident sense of entitlement over MY BODY that they have. I’m pretty and single. They’re available and have a penis, ergo, I must want them or I’m a horrible woman. Since when did my body become the possession of every straight man in the greater Boston area?
Oh yeah, since I started glowing with health.
It’s draining. It’s enough to make me not want to go out some nights. It’s enough to make me want to stick my earbuds in in public and ignore everyone. Of course, I’m me, so I’m not going to do these things. I’m going to keep being my awesome self and feminist hulksmashing the douchebags (verbal smack-down, folks, not a physical one), but. If I didn’t have such a strong personality or had personal issues or WHATEVER I could totally see this being a thing that would make me stop working out, stop eating healthy, stop it all and just hide to protect myself.
Do you see where I’m going here? This misogynistic entitlement to women’s bodies is a poison to our whole society. A POISON. Every time you police a woman’s body or act entitled to her or watch it happen to a woman and not stand up for her, you are essentially watching the cook poison the food and then serve it to the dinner party without saying anything or trying to stop him. It hurts everyone, and it is not ok! It is just as bad as those cultures (that I know Americans judge) that say, “Women need to cover up because they tempt men.” Our cultural impetus is the opposite. “This woman is young and healthy and available ergo I deserve her body.”
No. You. Don’t.
I vow to say something any time I hear this attitude happening, and not just to me. I vow to encourage all women to remember that our bodies are ours and our health is about US and not about THEM. I hope you all will do the same.
We all are peripherally aware of the fact that a bit of photoshopping is done on magazine covers. We expect that a fly-away piece of hair in the model’s face might be shopped out or an odd-looking shadow, for instance. I thought this was about making sure the lighting didn’t make the model/actress/singer look unreal and probably a bit about smoothing out an imperfection that woman is insecure about, like a blemish she had that day. So when the Kelly Clarkson on the cover of Self controversy came out this week, I was angered on behalf of Kelly.
Essentially, Self shopped off around 20 pounds from Kelly’s frame. Not at her request. Not with her permission. In fact, Kelly was appearing in Self to talk about how she’s happy with what she looks like and isn’t letting the “zomg she’s fat and not perfect!” gossip get her down.
Did you catch that? They photoshopped a singer appearing in the magazine to talk about being comfortable with her weight to look skinnier.
But it gets worse.
Jezebel dug up the Self editors’ response, which did not consist of apoligies, but instead states that this sort of thing is their general method of operation. When models show up they look so real that they “could be mistaken for a member of the crew or the editorial team.” The horror. They then go on to state that they extensively photoshop every cover model, because “It is…meant to inspire women to want to be their best. “
No, Self, you’re not inspiring women to be their best. You’re guilt-tripping women to continually attempt to achieve a look that is so impossible you have to photoshop models and celebrities to make them appear that way! God forbid women look like women. There are many body types. What makes a person beautiful isn’t their body type; it’s health and who they are as a person. Some women have boobs and a big butt. Others naturally lack curves. Some women have stick-straight hair; others have frizzy fly-away hair. But no woman’s body is flawless.
Having flaws, both physically and as a person, is part of being a human being. Presenting to women, and to the little girls who are bound to see these magazine covers, that this body type that is only possible through photoshop as a tangible possibility is harmful. You’re telling them that it’s their fault they don’t look like this. They could look like this if they just work hard enough. If they follow your crazy fad diets. If they apply every creme in your magazine to their skin. If they would just spend an hour in the morning doing their hair and applying makeup, not to mention the two to three hours at night working out. Clearly striving to keep our bodies healthy isn’t good enough, is it, Self?
This photoshop controversy is worse because Self purports to be about women having healthy bodies, not fashion like Elle or Vogue. The public expects them to feature healthy women on the covers, not a photoshopped fantasy of what women supposedly should look like.
A online commenter pointed out that this is women hurting other women’s body images. He’s right. Women put out this magazine. Women are putting this image out there, causing other women to obsess and waste their time attempting to achieve the impossible, not to mention putting an impossible ideal into men’s heads. Shame on you, Ashley Mateo and Lucy Danziger. You are the worst type of misogynist–a female one.