I’m back with another Keeper Shelf squee! If you missed my first one, I talked about my deep love of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and how it tapped into my feelings about how people might view me in relation to both my own and my mother’s mental illness.
While Garden Spells has magic, yummy descriptions of food, and small town gossip, we’re about to a one-eighty on this bad boy because my next squee is about Feed by Mira Grant. It’s a zombie horror novel.
Two warnings: I will be discussing death and mortality in this post if you’re sensitive to those topics. I will also spoil the shit out of this book as my love for Feed hinges on a huge spoiler.
For a quick and dirty summary, Feed focuses on the sibling duo of Georgia and Shaun Mason. They’re journalists/bloggers of sorts. Shaun is the more adventurous of the two, going out into the field to do zombie coverage. Georgia is the more sensible one. While tasked with covering a political campaign, they uncover a conspiracy regarding the undead and how they’ve come to be zombi-fied. So it’s part horror, action, and political thriller.
However, it’s not the plot that makes me love this book. It’s Georgia and Shaun. The brother/sister relationship felt so close to home, which was why the book utterly ruined me in the worst way. We’re talking full-on ugly crying, snot-bubbles type ruining.
I have a younger brother. There’s about a five year age difference. His 24 to my (current) 28 and I’m getting teary-eyed just writing this. (I’m also smack dab in the middle of my period, so I am particularly sensitive when thinking about my brother.) He is easily one of my best friends. During a rough spot in our childhood, I even took up the job of raising him. Taking him to school, cooking dinner for us, etc. We are incredibly close and though he doesn’t read my work, because the fact that his nearly-thirty sister talks about sex and sexy toys as part of work highly embarrasses him, I’m so proud of him.
And I would riot in the streets if something were to happen to him. I would burn it all down and the salt the earth.
Now, we’re going to get into some spoilers. If you read the description to the second book, Deadline, you can probably guess what happens.
Here’s the big reveal.
Are you ready?
There’s too much to hide behind spoiler tags so do NOT read any further if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Not kidding around here.
Ok, here goes.
Georgia dies. In a really awful way.
Given Shaun’s more reckless nature, I had assumed he’d be the one to bite it during the book. But as the siblings get closer and closer to figuring out some pretty hefty secrets, Georgia is shot with dart that contains the zombie virus. There is no cure on hand.
I swung back to my monitor, trying to swallow away the dryness as I heard Shaun moving behind me, taking one of the spare revolvers out of the locker by the door and loading it, one careful cartridge at a time. What was it the reports said? The dryness of the mouth was one of the early signs of viral amplification, resulting from the crystal blocks of virus drawing away moisture and bringing on that lovely desiccated state that all the living dead seem to share? That seemed about right. It was getting harder to think about that sort of thing. Suddenly, it was all just a little too immediate.
My hands were still hovering above the keyboard while my mind struggled to find a beginning when I felt the barrel of the fun press against the base of my skull, cold and somehow soothing. Shaun wouldn’t let me hurt anyone else. Not even him. Not more than I already had.
“I love you.”
“I know, George. I love you, too. You and me. Always.”
His lips brushed the top of my head as he bent forward and pressed them into my hair. I wanted to yell at him to get away from me, but I didn’t. The barrel of the gun remained a cool, constant pressure on the back of my neck. When I turned, when I stopped being me, he would end it. He loved me enough to end it. Has any girl ever been luckier than I am?
As Georgia is succumbing to the virus, she’s trying to get out her last blog post. Her last paragraph utterly kills me:
Shaun I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I didn’t mean it I would take it all back if I could but I can’t I cant I I I I I I I all fading words going cant do this cant Shaun please Shaun please I love you I love you I always you know I Shaun please cant hold on everything jfdh cant do this jhjnfbnnnn mmm have to my name my name is Shaun I love you Shaun please gngn please SHOOT ME SHAUN SHOOT ME N—
Are you crying? Because I am and I’m in a Starbucks.
The book was mostly told from Georgia’s point of view, but from there it switches to Shaun and we get to see his reaction to having to kill his sister. He says the loudest thing about that moment, louder than the gunshot, was the sound of his sister’s body falling and IT’S SO SAD.
I don’t think about death often. In fact, I’d prefer not to. But reading that, it was hard not to think about my brother. Would he kill me if I were infected with a zombie virus?
How do I know?
I made him my medical proxy. I consulted him before doing it and I remember him asking, “If you go into a coma, how long am I supposed to keep you alive?”
Like, that’s the first thing he was concerned with.
“I don’t know, a year?” I told him.
And then he chastised me for taking up valuable hospital resources.
However, I don’t know if I could kill my brother if he were about to turn into a zombie. I’ll probably chain him up and keep him in a shed, Shaun of the Dead style.
Another element to my personal connection to this story is that my brother is in the military. He’s not actively deployed right now; he’s on base in the U.S. But I know that his deployment status could change in the future. I had a lot of FEELINGS attending his boot camp graduation, though the gravity of the situation was lightened by his first words to me: “Don’t hug me. The entire barracks got pink eye.”
The thought of losing my brother is a very real thing, or at least more real to me now that he’s started his military service. And, like the big sister I am, if I could lock him away in a bubble forever, I would.
Following Georgia’s death, Shaun makes sure his sister’s memory is forever remembered and that the work she did in uncovering a conspiracy would be continued. I doubt I’ll ever be face with such a tantamount situation, but I know I’d want to make sure that no one forgot how awesome of a guy my brother was.
And I’m crying again. Still in Starbucks.
Though I prefer my books on the happier scale, it’s also nice to be reminded of how blessed I am to have a brother like Zack. He gives me homemade pottery that I refuse to actually use out of fear of ruining it. He disapproves of the amount of naps I take. He gives the best hugs. And I’d move heaven and earth to make sure we grow old and cranky together instead of one of us being infected by a zombie virus.
If you’re curious, here are baby and adult versions of Amanda and Zack.
Do you have a book you’d like to squee about? Email us! We’d love to hear about it!
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