Andy is a normal guy with a wife and a child but after a horrible car crash, Andy and his wife die. But there is one big problem, Andy reanimates two days after his burial and becomes a zombie. “Breathers” by S.G. Browne is the story of Andy coming to grips that he is no longer a Breather, a living person. Zombies are hated by society and their rotting bodies are kept out of sight and have restrictive curfews (and are dealt with by Animal Control). Andy only leaves his house to attend Undead Anonymous to talk about being a zombie but because of the accident, his vocal chords are severed so he is forced to stumble around with a dry erase board hanging around his neck to communicate. He spends the rest of his time drinking rare, expensive wines in his parents basement and watching tv re-runs…until he meets Ray and his “magic jarred venison.”
Zombies are constantly verbally degraded and frat boys rip zombies’ arms off and hand them in their fraternity house as trophies. Andy tries to raise awareness of zombie rights by standing outside his house with picket signs saying things like “Zombies Against Mutilation” but is only met with thrown food and a dog pissing on his leg. He fights off his father’s constant threats of sending him to Body Farms where students of medicine watch the rate of decay, being donated to plastic surgeons for their re-certification exams, and being sent to the Zombie Zoo.
What would you do if you woke up undead and everything you used to be able to do and everything you own was taken away. Social Security, gone. Trips to the grocery store, gone. Watching a movie at the theater, gone. Sex, gone. All basic rights stripped away. And if human flesh could make you better, make your heart beat, make you look human, let you feel love again, would you eat it? What if the human flesh was your parents? Browne makes the reader laugh and cry through witty comments and the blatant oppression of the lower class citizens (zombies) by the ruling elite (breathers).