Geraldine O'Hagan's Reviews > The Sookie Stackhouse Companion

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris
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Nov 08, 2011

did not like it
Read from November 08 to 09, 2011

** spoiler alert ** In all fairness, I should never have read this book, since I loathe Sookie Stackhouse with a passion. However I’m nothing if not a completist, and the series was given to me for free, so I have ploughed my way through 11 novels so far, plus this thing.

It starts with a novella about Sookie’s much-mentioned trip to Sam’s brother’s wedding. To be honest, this wasn’t really summat I’d bemoaned the lack of in the books proper. All Sam’s boring relative are introduced and we are told in detail what Sookie plans to wear for the ceremony. We also learn that Sookie is the kind of sentimental, judgemental person who would rather see a human die than an animal because the human would most likely be partly responsible for their own death due to making stupid life choices. Which is charming. Also Quinn makes an unwelcome reappearance, recommences calling Sookie babe incessantly, and brings absolutely nothing else to the story.

The main plot point, if I can call it that, is the harassment suffered by Sam’s family for being “Shifters” and kin. This has already been thoroughly discussed in several of the novels, and it only serves to make me wonder why there is no mention of any difficulties faced by the presumably numerous “supes” around the world not directly associated with Sookie Stackhouse. If the events of this story are anything to go by, I can only assume that the nightly news must be full of related hate-crimes and viciously barbed rhetoric. Yet we hear nothing of this, because it doesn’t directly impact on the vapid world of Sookie Stackhouse. Basically, unless you’ve attempted to shag Sookie or one of her many men-friends, you and your life do not impact on her or her world.

At any rate, said harassment proceeds in an uninteresting manner, the nadir of which is Sam’s family prayer meeting, where the Merlottes ask God to help them with their hostile neighbours. Other than upsetting a three-year-old, this achieves nothing. Then Quinn’s love-life is sorted out, to nobody’s interest. Then Sookie goes on about guns some more. Then we hear every detail of a dull party, including every refreshment and condiment on offer. Then there is an incident regarding some minor characters trying to kill each other. Luckily the surviving attempted murderer explains the events preceding the killing in detail to Sookie despite the fact that they are enemies, so the reader is left with no hint of ambiguity and no doubt that Charlaine Harris is a lazy idiot. The awkward characters having been conveniently killed/arrested, Harris has run out of things to say and the novella ends.


Most Self-Congratulatory and Surely Untrue Comment
Harris:

“people had told me for years that I had a great sense of humor”

Maybe they were all joking?
Sookie:
"I’m usually pretty accurate about human nature"



Stupidest New Character Names
Doke Ballinger
Mason Ballinger
Cyndee the Barmaid
Togo Olympio
Sister Mendoza
Brother Bart Arrowsmith
Brenda Sue the Biker Babe
Porter Carpenter
Tijgerin

Most Compassionate Response to a Gruesome Murder
Sookie:
“You’d think I’d be distraught and upset. You’d think I’d be overwhelmed, having seen this horrible scene. But you know what? I was tickled pink…it was hard for me to suppress a smile”..
“Sookie,” said Luna into my ear, “it doesn’t hardly get any better than this.”
“I think you’re right,” I said."



Most Contradictory Self-Assessment
Sookie:
“I’d never been a squeamish person”

Really? I thought one minute of a “Saw” film was too much for you Sookie? Make up your mind.


Following this story there is a long and boring timeline of events so far in Sookie’s life, interspaced with transcripts of some of the most boring and mundane correspondence and telephone conversations conceivable by the mind of man, mainly involving Bill and Eric.

Next is a dull summary of all Harris’ vampire related short stories, presumably written in order to sell more copies of them.

Then lengthy witterings from Sookie about the various supernatural creatures she has met, and her inane opinions on such. It includes her usual pro-American random nonsense whilst discussing vampires, such as “But they all seem to manage to make a dollar or two; that’s the American way, isn’t it?” , ”the good old U.S. of A. was always a melting pot, so we figured they were just another minority wanting a new home” and ” “America’s the land of free enterprise” During this section we learn absolutely nothing, plus Harris’ doesn’t even manage to make it sound much like Sookie’s admittedly inconsistent voice, despite chucking in a bit of cutsey talk to remind us of her braindead manner.

After this there’s a filler trivia section. Then a recipe section, for more padding. Then an interview with True Blood creator Alan Ball, in which he advertises the show and used the irritatingly ubiquitous Americanisation “normalcy”. This section also introduces us to a True Blood fan who can’t watch the opening credits as she finds them unnerving, which is both bizarre and ridiculous. Next is a pointless summary of the works of Charlaine Harris and an unnecessary and rather sad piece on her fan club written by a particularly obsessive fan.

Succeeding this in the litany of banality, Harris strains her intellect by answering the queries of some of the aforementioned fans:


Least Shocking Revelation

“I don’t plot much in advance”

To be honest, I assumed she wrote one line at a time, without either forward-planning or any re-reading for fact checking purposes.


Most Worrying Confession of Authorial Irresponsibility
“I’m not always sure why I make the decisions I do”


Finally, the latter part of the book is bulked up with an alphabetical guide to “the World of Sookie Stackhouse”, which in its superfluous, unimaginative tedium perfectly encapsulates his book as a whole.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Kaye Dil Wow.. I love the Sookie series and I plan on reading the book shortly.. I'm actually impressed with your review makes me want to read the book even more.. Not because I think u have damned it but well just have to read for myself and form my own opinion no doubt I'll prob agree with u on some aspects of the book. But isn't this why we read the books! No matter what, I would never pass up a Harris book I think it's because we have to read them whether we like the synopsis or not.


message 2: by Kat (new)

Kat How did you force yourself to read this one? *fist bump* The only companion books I read are from shows I'm obsessed with, a companion book to a book series seems pointless. That's why you're writing the book in the first place. But maybe not Charlaine, someone's clearly told her that as long as she puts Sookie Stackhouse on the cover of a book, she'll make money. Annoyingly true it would seem :S


Katherine I was going to write a review for this myself, but it looks like you've summed up what I wanted to say (including even quoting he part about being "tickled pink" upon discovering the murder victim). I actually liked the series as a fun, light-hearted treat until some of the more recent books. I'm not sure which one threw me off the bandwagon, but I don't think the last book will fix how I feel about Sookie at this point.


Geraldine O'Hagan The series did seem to get decreasingly light-hearted and increasingly bitter as it went on, didn't it? For me the nadir was when Sookie decided to inform us that she hoped her grandmother (who raised her and she professes to adore) had been raped and subsequently borne said rapist's child, as that would be preferable to the horror of her having had an extra-marital liaison. I was genuinely disgusted, not just with the remark itself but with the casual style in which it was presented. I honestly think Harris believes it to be a completely reasonable thing to say, which is horrifying. As far as I'm concerned there's no coming back from that for either Sookie or Charlaine.


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