Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Postmortal - a review

The Postmortal - Drew Magary - 384 pages
"No argument could be made against my profound interest in not dying."
If a book could make a sound then The Postmortal would make a satisfying crunch. Not a foot stepping on dead leaves crunch; a first bite of Cap'n Crunch crunch. Peanut butter crunch at that because peanut butter crunch is better and The Postmortal does what Super Sad Love Story failed to make me do: laugh.*

The Postmortal is written from the perspective of a white 29-year-old male blogger from the U.S. named John Farrell (I could not relate to John at all because I am a white 28-year-old male blogger from the U.S. and that's completely different). The story unfolds through links, musings, stories, news articles, and whatever John Farrell (if that is his real name) feels like posting to his untitled blog.

When we join John he is talking about the Cure (not the band). John goes to a drug dealing type doctor to get the Cure. I write drug dealing type doctor because the Cure is illegal in America. It soon becomes legal through that zany thing known as legislation**, though, but not after several "Cure Doctors" are killed.  What does the Cure do? It cures mortality. Once a person takes it they can live forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.

Here's the problem with the Cure, though: a person won't die of old age if they take the cure, but everything else can kill them. Bullets? Cancer? Religious whackos? Cap'n Crunch overload? Yep. All deadly to postmortals.

We continue to follow John's blog postings (and he's really clever and funny and I can only imagine how handsome of a man he is because mostly all male bloggers are) far into the future as the world becomes over populated and starts falling apart. There's explosions, terrorist attacks, religious zealots, love, the killing of pregnant women, and a lot of dark humor***.

The dark humor is the shining point of The Postmortal:
I assumed it was a terrorist attack. I mean, it was a terrorist attack. But I thought it was, you know, a terrorist terrorist attack.
It's a little bone chilling to realize that I understand that line of logic, as confusing as it will be to someone fifty years from now.

The best part of Drew Magary's book are the parts of John Farrell's love life that we get to glimpse. John starts out as a divorce lawyer and goes through several life long relationships (for a blogger the man seems to get around a lot) before the book ends.

As in all things important the biggest question ends up being Twilight related. Drew Magary has raised a lot of arguments against the idea of eternal love. And let me tell everyone right now: Drew Magary has killed the idea of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan and their eternal love and it was so, so, so, so sweet.

Could you be with the same person for the next 100 years? How about a thousand? Imagine having the same arguments about money with the same spouse for the next one thousand years. Could anyone do that? Can love last that long? Would you eventually strangle them because they drank the last cup of coffee and didn't make you more and you'd been telling them for fifty years that this is a major fucking problem for us?

Edward: I'm getting tired of cleaning elk blood out of the carpet.
Bella: Well, I'm getting tired of you letting a werewolf run around with our tart of a daughter.
Edward: Oh, here with go AGAIN!

I really enjoyed The Postmortal. More people need to be reading this book. Not because it's funny, or a trendy future dystopian novel, but because it's relevant to our pizza-is-a-vegetable now culture. The one question we all need to ask ourselves is: do I deserve immortality? What have I done lately to earn it? The answer is: not much. No one has earned it. And that makes this a sad present and The Postmortal an even bleaker future.

 *Yes, I am comparing a book to another book and using a breakfast cereal as a comparison point.
**Pizza is a freakin' vegetable. 
***Honestly I got this book confused with events of the past decade. Had it not been for the Cure postings I would've gotten it confused with an actual blog describing current events.
End note: Here's a fun quote from Babylon 5: "Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love is eternal."
End note 2: I went this entire review without comparing it to the movie Death Becomes Her. Wahoo.


  1. Look at you. Being funny once again. I have to agree that peanut butter Captain Crunch is the best. CRUNCHY!

  2. Early in the book John talks about Cap'n Crunch and the entire book I kept thinking about Cap'n Crunch. I ended up buying a box of generic Cap'n Crunch and eating it while I read the book. Now whenever I think of death I will associate it with Cap'n Crunch...

  3. The opening quote of your review totally gets my head in the dark humor and snarkypants game. I have to be careful not to dwell on the fact that a male blogger is writing a review about a book written by a male blogger. I can feel the space-time continuum busting at the seams.

    Also, your shout out to Babylon 5 warmed hy heart.

  4. Oh, how I love dystopian novels, especially when I can relate them back to our current culture. I had to be careful when I read World War Z because it was so much like interviews with survivors of any other war. I had to check myself several times during the book. The talk of zombies helped with that.

    I have to say, I like the argument about Edward and Bella, and could you really be with one person for eternity? I like the series, love it when I'm in the middle of reading the books (and have lost the ability to be objective). But it's a very relevant point. I personally would probably kill Edward after about a month.

  5. Lisa, the satire in The Postmortal hit extremely close to home for me. I'm glad I'm not the only B5 fan left on the planet.

    Molly, glad to know I'm not the only one that has that problem. I need less reality these days. I think we all do.

  6. Have not heard of this one before although I love the dystopian genre. I particularly enjoyed the Twilight references ;)

  7. this is excellent. you actually make me want to read a book with a not-pretty cover, which is very shallow of me - but hey, i'm cool with that so you can be too.

    most of all, i love how you call renesnensmeeee or whatever her name is "a tart" because my last name is tart and i get that damn joke all the time. i swear it makes me laugh every time. except when creepy old men say it. then it's just creepy. but this has nothing to do with the book, so i'll shut up now. in short, the tart reference = my favorite part. so, yay for that.

  8. There's nothing wrong with reading a book with a pretty cover. I try to make up for reading romance novels and the such by looking bad ass all the time. I love the word tart. And tarts themselves. I mean, err, tarts as in pastries, not the kind you find on the street.

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