Monstro is far from a normal Zombie novel; in fact, in the beginning I would have been more likely to place it in the Cancer unit – for this sounds like a rather grotesque version of melanoma rather than it sounding like a traditional discussion about zombies.
Traditionally, Zombie novels, movies, or shows have a few things in common – something that Monstro is missing. First, the zombie epidemic is almost always a virus type that spreads, well, like an epidemic – in Monstro, they made it a point to specifically say it did not spread as such. Second, Zombies traditionally have little to no speaking ability once infected – here, it takes them months to lose their ability to communicate effectively. Third, Zombies are generally falling apart, or losing limbs – not growing excess masses or growing into each other; that is something unique unto Monstro itself. In these aspects, Monstro differs from traditional zombie novels/films/tv shows so much, it is hard to view it as a Zombie novel.
However, from Pokornowski’s point of view (the one which I misunderstood last week,) Monstro is similar to a traditional zombie novel – as it portrays them as the “darkness,” (or, as Dr. Rippy pointed out, something that is traditionally in Africa – is that not where this entire novel is base?) quiet literally – as it says the disease actually makes them darker. It’s quite humorous, really, when you think of the play on words here.
That is the only point in which Pokornowski’s point of view can be taken purely at face value. The other point that was made in that particular viewpoint, was that the healthy, or the living, were portrayed as white normativity. This is true to a point here – despite the fact that the entire novel is set in Africa – the “rich,” are portrayed as the spoiled upperclass teenagers of America are portrayed – spoiled, partying, with an unlimited supply of things that they shouldn’t have – drugs, alcohol, weapons, etc.
Still, despite the fact that Pokornowski can be said to support the fact that Monstro is a traditional Zombie novel I must continue to argue against this. Monstro simply does not come off as though they are speaking about zombies – not in any true traditional sense at all – if one must delve into the hidden metaphors at play and the adjectives that are used, then one is truly digging much to hard to portray something as “normal.”
Monstro simply is not a traditional Zombie novel. It is interesting – vulgar in both word choice and images depicted, but interesting nonetheless; to try to make it normal would take away some of that. Monstro is a unique novel in and of itself, and I would rather it be classified as a new type of novel or subject than to try and classify it and limit it to something it is not.
Monstro, as I said earlier, truthfully would’ve worked very well in the Cancer unit. It speaks of being judged or marginalized, stigmas behind illness, as well as that visceral reaction we get from reading about such illnesses and the symptoms inherit with it. It is a good novel – completely different than what I was expecting when reading for the Zombie unit.