Snickers may satisfy people, but it takes brains to satisfy zombies, or Zums, as Tom Sawyer and the other characters who populate The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Don Borchert and Mark Twain call them. In this volume, you’ll find practically the entire novel Mark Twain wrote, plus the added fun of there being zombies included to liven (or would that be deaden?) things up. Since Twain wrote most of this novel, that’s why I wrote that both he and Don Borchert authored this book. It’s a highly entertaining, page-turning read that you’re sure to like if you enjoyed reading Mark Twain’s original story.
A zombie (or Zum) plague has infected the dead in the United States, and the world is overrun by a zombie virus. But does a minor thing like that get in the way of boyish pranks and having fun? No, of course not! All of the humorous scenes from Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are here, just with an extra added twist. For instance, Tom doesn’t have to worry about whitewashing his Aunt Polly’s fence. Instead, he cons his friends into sharpening fence posts to lethal points to repel a Zum attack, and makes them pay him an odd assortment of “treasures” for the honor, like apples:
Besides the treasures already mentioned, he had twelve marbles, a variety of startingly white Zum teeth raked out of a pyre, a piece of broken blue glass that was said to have come from a burned-down church, a piece of chalk, a glass stopper from a liquor decanter, the last edition of a one-page newspaper from a small town nearby entirely burned and razed by the Zum, a tin soldier, a brass doorknob, the handle of a broken knife, several prayer cards of people killed in earlier attacks, and a handful of firecrackers.
A problem I had with the book is that no matter how delightful it is, and full of boyhood mischief, I had to ask myself how much of that was due to Don Borchert’s additions, and how much was due to Mark Twain’s excellent masterpiece. To me, in judging how good a collaboration like this is/isn’t, knowing how much each author contributes is very important.
Honestly, I’d say at least 80% of this novel was written by Twain, and it’s largely a great book to read because the original novel was and still is a fantastic book that everyone should read. Borchert’s additions did add to the fun, but I would have actually preferred that he would have maybe used Twain’s style to write an entirely new novel involving Tom Sawyer and zombies, say, set after the events in the original novel had occurred. The best sort of collaboration that is at all similar would have to be Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. That’s not saying that this book isn’t good; I’m just giving credit where credit is due.
Becky and Jim Thatcher are here, Aunt Polly and the Widow Douglas, Injun Joe, and all of the other characters in Twain’s classic work of literature, including Huckleberry Finn. MY favorite part of the novel, as in the original, is when Tom and Becky are lost in a cave. Injun Joe is as murderous and scary as ever. I liked his comments to a confederate of his that Tom sees Joe strangle to death from where he is in hiding:
“It was time – you were way overdue. But now it’s over. No more hunger. No more thirst. It’s all been sloughed off. You’re better than you were an hour ago.”
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Don Borchert and Mark Twain has all of the adventure, action, and humor of the original, with a little extra added bite that only the Undead can provide. I highly recommend it to fans of Mark Twain’s original classic, and to anyone who likes humor-laced zombie novels. It’s a lot of fun to read, and despite some violence by both Injun Joe and the Zum, it’s a novel that anyone upper elementary school age and up will enjoy reading.