May 31, 2009 at 6:43 pm (Authors Who Influence)
A month ago I was on Amazon looking up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because of a recent review I’d read in The Dallas Morning News. Confession: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, but I wanted to read the zombie version. In the review the writer mentioned that adding zombies would help speak to the teen boys who couldn’t muddle through Austen’s style. I have to admit that even though I’m a 26 year old female I need the zombies. I tried to read the original many times, and as much as I love to read I can’t get through Austen’s writing. Another Confession: I love the movies based on Austen’s books, and own all of them except Northanger Abbey. Every time I watch The Jane Austen Book Club I have a new resolve to read the novels, but I always fail.
While doing this zombie research I came across the novel Breathers by S. G. Browne, published this year. The summary sounded intriguing. It’s not everyday you hear about a group of zombies going to a support group. I decided to read the book. However, if I had known the effects it would have on me I probably would’ve skipped it altogether. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the story. I didn’t enjoy what it pointed out to me about Diet Coke.
The zombies in the novel require a certain intake of formaldehyde in order to stay somewhat preserved. They receive this “nutrition” from several sources such as shampoo, make-up, and yes, Diet Coke. I was appalled when I read that. Surely the author was taking artistic license with such a horrific comment. After all, Browne is writing about zombies, and they aren’t real. Why would this be?
I decided to research further. You may say, why bother? Keep reading and move on. I couldn’t. I love Diet Coke, and Browne does an exquisite job of describing the zombies in detail. So when I picture their decomposing bodies drinking my beloved Diet Coke it makes me feel ill. After setting the book aside I googled Diet Coke and formaldehyde and this is what I found. Aspartame, one of the sweeteners in Diet Coke, other diet drinks, and many diet products contains formaldehyde. There are many articles on the effects of aspartame to the human body when large doses are consumed, but none of those articles had the effect Browne’s novel achieved.
It’s been a month since I’ve enjoyed a cold Diet Coke. I said goodbye to my breakfast friend and my afternoon colleague. Thanks a lot Browne. I enjoyed your novel, but at what price?