Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways's Reviews > The Sookie Stackhouse Companion

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris
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Dec 27, 11

Read in December, 2011

Rating: 3.75* of five

The Book Report: Exactly what the title says: a companion to the series of novels through book 11. Character synopses, book synopses, Q&A with Miss Harris, Q&A with Alan Ball who created True Blood based on the characters in the novels, a chronology of the whole canon including short fiction. Plus an original novella!

My Review: For all the non-novella material: Nicely done, no surprises.

The novella, "Small-Town Wedding", sees Sookie on her way to the much-delayed wedding of her boss Sam Merlotte's younger, non-shape-shifter brother to a fully human girl in small Wright, Texas. Sam's mother Bernie was shot by her second husband when the shape-shifter community came out the way the vampires did, and Bernie hasn't been forgiven by the town since it all came down, not least because her second husband was popular and is now in jail.

Sookie is, as always, walking into a fireworks factory while givin' off sparks. She arrives lookin' all prettfied and Sam's various womenfolk start the grill to roast her history and plans out of Sookie. They seem disappointed that she's not the future Mrs. Merlotte, but they don't even get halfway down the sad ladder because the wedding's being used in a bitter and cynical way by evil Fellowship of the Sun-ites to test how hard and how effective it will be to get mobs to protest and prevent shifter marriages.

The wedding takes place, the evildoers are thwarted, and tolerance is barely, barely winning the day. But Harris's larger message, that folks with spare hatin' time need to find themselves some useful work in this life and start makin' the world a better place, resonates strongly with me. It is a commonsensical response to the world that I wish more of humanity shared. Harris's vampire and shifters and other supes are stand-ins for all the glorious variety of humanity that exists, and the responses of the good or the bad characters to that variety is so real and so nuanced that it almost hurts to read. Harris doesn't let one single character or person or group off any hook, she just shows her readers what the other side of the argument is really thinking and feeling, good and bad. She works on the assumption that understanding lessens anger.

Know what? She's right. Dammit to hell!
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