The Southern Book Club’s Guide to slaying vampires
By Grady Hendrix
Review by Jennifer
I walked into this book thinking it was your normal run of the mill vampire book – but if this is what you are looking for, this book is not it. A little bit of a horror, a lot of bit of gross – this is the story of a mother trying to protect her children from the dangers of a newcomer (aka vampire) in Charleston, SC. Set in the early/mid-nineties, she and her book club friends set out to protect their children from the vampire who has slowly ingratiated himself into their lives.
At least that’s what it is on the surface.
Hendrix’s story explores the roles of women in a man’s world. Often seen as being easily misguided and given to exaggeration, the heroine of the story ends up being right, despite her husband and the other men in the book telling her and her book club friends she was imagining everything.
Hendrix also explores the helplessness of a parent as the world changes around them. It seems no matter how hard the heroine and the other book club members tried, they could not stop this insidious presence from overtaking their lives and that of their children (at least for a time).
Overall, the writing was clear and the story concise, but I found two things that weren’t my style. First, the pacing of the story was set to crawling speed, at least until the last quarter of the book where it moved along quite nicely. Secondly, the characters felt flat and underdeveloped. Whether intentional or not, I felt more connected with the point of the book than anything the character was going through.
The best part of the book was the location. A native South Carolinian, Charleston is my favorite spot to vacation. I was thrilled every time I came across a landmark I was familiar with in the book.
Quotes Worth Remembering
“He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something… there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.”
“Think of us what you will," she thought, "we made mistakes, and probably scarred our children for life, and we froze sandwiches, and forgot carpool, and got divorced. But when the time came, we went the distance.”
FIND SIMILAR BOOKS
- Dracula by Bram Stoker – if you want to try the classic Vampire story
- The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith – if you want to try a teen romance take on vampires
- Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – if you want to try Vampire horror from the 90s
- The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton – if you want to try an unconventional romance take on vampires
I would give this book three out of five stars.
I made the mistake of reading the forward before I read the book, so the natural theme and plot were already revealed to me before I opened it to the first page. If you want the mystery, I strongly recommend that you don’t read the forward until after you’ve read the book.
Also, Hendrix’s use of rats in the story is extreme. If you have musophobia (I had to look this word up), fear of rats, avoid this book.
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