‘Every once in an awhile in the block, there’s a day doesn’t start right. A day when all the repeating patterns that Melanie uses as measuring sticks for life fail to occur, one after another, and she feels like she’s bobbing around helplessly in the air- a Melanie- shaped balloon. The week after Miss Justineau told the class that their mothers were dead, there’s a day like that
It’s a Friday, but when Sergeant and his people arrive they don’t bring a teacher with them and they don’t open the cell doors. Melanie already knows what’s going to happen next, but she still feels a sprinkle of unease when she hears the clacking of dr Caldwell high-heeled shoes on the concrete floor. And the a moment or two later she hears the sound of dr Caldwell’s pen, which Dr Caldwell will sometimes keep clicking on and off and on and off even when she doesn’t want to write anything. Melanie doesn’t get up off the bed. She just sits there and waits. She doesn’t like Dr Caldwell very much.’
Classic zombie thrillers have been a stable in our societies bibliography for generations; traditionally they are an escapism by transporting us to a different time, place. I would recommend this book as it was a different approach to the horror genre and it allowed me to explore a unique take on the stereotypically gory thriller.
This book starts out by meeting a young girl called Melanie; we are placed in a classroom with Greek mythology being our lesson. The classroom is the only joy that is in all of the children’s lives, Justineau teaches them about Greek history, Melanie feels as though her name is a disappointment and takes a great fondness towards the girl Pandora, which coincides with her being the girl with the gifts as Pandora opened the box and released problems, but once opened could be very powerful. Melanie is believed to have all the gifts Doctor Caldwell wants to open her to find out why this young girl is able to act like a human but still be classed as a zombie.
The doctor is hated by all of the children, as she is the one who disrupts their day. She is the inconsistency within their day. Young Melanie displays much hatred towards her until she feels uncomfortable with this and tries to have a more positive approach to her previous nemesis ‘she doesn’t like Dr Caldwell very much’ she later demonstrated regret about the feelings she used to have towards her. This is the catalyst as to why she is tested; no other zombie has human traits apart from the children. Dr Caldwell feels as though she has determined why these children are still humans and not shells of human bodies wandering the earth feasting on each other. Melanie shows affinity towards her teacher miss Justineau, their relationship mirrors a parent/ child bond. I enjoyed the fact that this book explored a family relationship rather than the typical man and women.
The ending shows how we allow ourselves to be enwrapped in our own successes instead of helping the people around us, as doctor Caldwell gets swallowed up by her own power, her life physically vanishes. The question that arose was whether or not she was trying to find a cure for humanity or to better herself?