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The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
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May 2020: Comedy > The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix -- 3.5 stars (round down to 3)

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7692 comments The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
3.5 (round down to 3)

Huh. I am not sure what I expected from this book, but I don't think this was it.

I knew this book was the horror genre going into it, but not like Stephen King horror. More like campy horror. Like Rocky Horror Picture Show horror. Like this was one of those pulp horror books that for some reason got picked up by a non-pulp publisher and got some buzz. Okay, fine. I can roll with that.

What was really odd was that it was a throw back on women's rights. It was set in the 1990s, but the women behaved like it was the 1960s. They were all stay-at-home moms (which I am not judging, but it is odd these days it seems for a group of six women to all be homemakers), they had these controlling husbands who talked down to them, and they were the victim of domestic abuse, emotional manipulation, and rape.

Let me back up just a bit. The premise. Not complicated. A group of female friends in South Carolina form a book club. But not just any book club. They read true crime books about serial killers. And, when a new man moves to town, Patricia realizes quickly that there is something more going on there than meets the eye.

I just never fully got on board. Maybe it was not relating at all to any of these women who totally kowtowed to their husbands. Maybe it was the weird mismatch of behavior and time period. Maybe it was the fact that a man wrote an entire cast of females (and, you can write about whatever you want and from whatever perspective you want, but it doesn't always ring authentic). Or maybe it was the incredibly slow pace.

I am just not sure, but this book was just not for me. I listened to the end because I wanted to know what happened, but when I got to the end I just didn't care.

**This is tagged both comedy and humor, but more than 10 people each. It is neither comedy nor humor. It has, at most, some witty lines. But I went into it with the good-faith expectation it fit the comedy tag, so I am counting it.


Tracy (tstan) | 1182 comments I just finished this, and I liked it a bit more than you did, I think. I appreciated the commentary on racism, women’s rights, and how white men take over everything.

I think the humor was supposed to be tongue in cheek, but for the most part, it wasn’t funny, and the horror was more in the true to life stuff than the vampire guy-thing.

I had to remind myself that in the 90s, these women were Southern baby boomers. Their generation struggles more with gender roles/equality, and women in the south have more expectations placed on them to be ladylike and to defer to their menfolk. Taken in that context, and imagining women like my sister in law and my mother in those roles made it more meaningful for me.
(Pretty sure my Mom would be the cleanup crew, and my SIL would be hacking at the monster, but it may also depend on the day...)


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7692 comments I can see the gender and racial issues, I just wasn’t impressed by his incorporation of them.

I also do not read a lot of this type of campy horror genre. And I am not sure it is my cup of tea. That may be my overwhelming issue! lol.

I can see where others would enjoy it more than I did. Especially, if like you, they can relate more to the characters though personal acquaintances!


Meli (melihooker) | 3125 comments Grady Hendrix, author of Paperbacks from Hell, is certainly inspired by pulpy campy horror, so most of his books incorporate those elements. I think, based on some interviews, that these women were inspired by women who grew up with - mom, aunt, etc. - and they would be Southern women as he is from South Carolina. And the 2 books of his I read are throwbacks, maybe because he is my age and those are nostalgic and memorable. I enjoy the throwback element a lot.

All that being said, I don't think getting background for a writer's intentions or inspiration would change how you feel about a book. It doesn't usually for me. Just wanted to share :)

I think there were a lot of readers who felt like you, Nicole. It was kind of split between people who loved it like me and people who were kinda meh. But those are always the most interesting books to talk about!


message 5: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7227 comments Nicole wrote:What was really odd was that it was a throw back on women's rights. It was set in the 1990s, but the women behaved like it was the 1960s.

I lived in a neighborhood like this in the 90's. It was surreal to be the only working wife/mother on the block. Sorta felt like I was living inThe Stepford Wives, Needless to say, I never became friends with any of them, LoL


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7692 comments Joanne wrote: "I lived in a neighborhood like this in the 90's. It was surreal to be the only working wife/mother on the block. Sorta felt like I was living inThe Stepford Wives, Needless to say, I never became friends with any of them, LoL"

Maybe it was a self-selecting group? All of these women were homemakers but their neighbors may have been women who worked out of the home. That actually makes more sense to me! People tend to form friend groups with people who have similar values and life structure.

I actually can more readily accept it when I think of it in that framework.


message 7: by NancyJ (last edited Jun 04, 2020 07:32AM) (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4978 comments I’m reading it now. It does feel A bit behind the times, but when I think back to 1992, I think about half the married women In my neighborhood worked.

I got grossed out by one scene already. I’m curious, but I might regret it.


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