A review of the book The Christian’s Zombie Killers Handbook, Slaying the Living Dead Within Written by: Jeff Kinley Review by: Millie Minor-Gibson
** Please note this is a guest post although I think it is awesome and I wish I did write it! **
Over the years zombies have fluxed in an out of popular culture and have been part of folklore since around the 19th century. There are two main types of zombies: 1) the crazy, brain munching, soul-less reanimated corps that bite people turning their victims into a crazy, brain munching, soul-less reanimated corps, like in Sean of the Dead, Zombieland and all those George Romero movies. 2) Someone dead or alive who is controlled by a sorcerer or Voodoo priest. The 2nd kind isn’t as popular, but was used in 1932’s White Zombie staring Bela Lugosi. (Personally, I feel #2 is a great metaphor for the way we allow sin to control our lives.) There is also interesting zombie folk lore regarding the Haitians and some very potent pharmaceuticals used on patients in the 1930’s. Some say Haiti is where zombie lore originated.
Since the reanimation of zombies in pop culture (pun intended) there have been zombie flash mobs, zombie parades, zombie proms, zombie walks, zombie movies, zombie TV shows, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and now a Christian Zombie book. It was only a matter of time before the Christian market monopolized on the popularity of zombies in pop culture.
It has always been a pet peeve of mine when Christian pop culture monopolizes off of whatever is popular in secular pop culture, but will not fully commit to it because it is too secular. Zombies are still popular, but defiantly on their way out; much like flash mobs, at least this is what the cool kids are saying. I suppose a zombie flash mob would be the most passé thing you could do, other than being really into Lost, (that’s a joke, for all of you who are like, WHAT?!? Lost, Flash Mobs, Zombies…they are still cool!) I feel that if the Christian market would come up with original, creative, mind blowing ideas the secular world would sit up and notice. Great example, Veggie Tales; Yes, it has been around since the mid 90’s, but it is still great and I know even non-Christians watch and enjoy the talking vegetables with Christian morals.
So, here we are with a The Christian’s Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley. This book alternates between a zombie story and a Bible study. I will explain a bit about the story later, but first I I want to start with the Bible Study portion. I had never heard of Jeff Kinley before, but with a bit of internet research I have found that he runs a ministry on www.mainthingministries.com and has written around 15 books. This book is intended to be a study guide, or a devotional of sorts. There are even packages you can order for a church youth retreat. Jeff Kinley has a lot of good things to say. As a Christian devotional writer he writes in a manner that is honest and easy to understand. However, I felt the metaphor of “the zombie inside us” was unnecessary for the message he wanted to convey. It was a gimmick; something to get the “on the fencers” who love horror and zombies sucked in. I get the monster inside of us that is trying to destroy and sabotage who we are intended to be in Christ, message. However, I am not sure the metaphor of zombie was best used here. I found the metaphor to be distracting and somewhat confusing; as if the author couldn’t fully explain it himself. I also did not understand how the story, described below, fit in with the Bible study portion. It seems they just both talked about Zombies.
The other portion of the book told a story about Ben Forman: A normal guy who doesn’t have a relationship with God, is living in a world of zombies and is engaged to a woman named Crystal who he loves very much. The author goes into a bit of detail about the zombies: Some people are bitten and some people have the gene living inside of them since birth until one day, POW! You are a zombie. There are a few story developments I do not want to ruin in case anyone want to read the book that were mildly intriguing. Despite other comments I read about this book this story is not horror. Yes, it is a zombie story, but it is not graphic, it is not scary, it is hardly suspenseful. There would have to be enough character development to become invested in the characters for you to be scared for them. The main character, Ben Forman, had a difficult time believing in God, but his struggles seemed undeveloped and watered down. I am a Christian; most of my friends are not. The author’s depiction of non-believers in the story and in the devotional part seem unrealistic and one dimensional. In the end he depicted non-believers to be something you should run from and fear, like a brain munching zombie. How are we to be a light to the world, if we are not out there influencing it? I suppose that is a different topic for a different Christian book. Tinker Bell type fairies maybe.
Conclusion: This would be a fun book for a church youth retreat taken around Halloween. Jeff Kinley, though I don’t agree with everything, has many good things to say. I hope this book has touched someone less critical than me.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free from BookSneeze in exchange for a review. I made Millie review it because it seemed so completely ridiculous to me that I was unable to read it myself. Obviously, the free product did not influence either of our opinions.