Posted at 9:32 AM Dec 29, 2008By Andrea Grimes
Saturday night, I happily munched on a lovely homemade pizza while piled up with a couple of cats in my lap, ready for my occasional crazy catladyhood to descend upon me in the form of a weekend night reading a vampire mystery novel. Yes, I could have been at a show, cocktailing or getting some, but this is how I know I am destined for lifetime feline companionship: I preferred the book.
Or, I preferred the book until I realized it was horribly offensive. Club Dead, the third book in the "Southern Vampire Mysteries" by Charlaine Harris came highly recommended, not only as fluff reading but as the inspiration for the supposedly excellent HBO hit show True Blood. My local bookstore didn't have the first or second books in the series, so I started as early as I could with the third. Now, after reading my own bound paperback copy of pure crap, I'm seriously reconsidering the sanity of the friend who recommended the Southern Vampire series.
I felt bad reading the weak-girl warbling of Bella in Twilight, and gagged at her worshipful love of Edward Cullen. But still, I enjoyed the stories, which were engaging and sexy, even if it seemed pretty clear that Stephenie Meyer has, consciously or not, ripped off a lot of the Southern Vampire conventions and, amazingly, made them enjoyable. Sadly, Sookie Stackhouse, the Southern Vampire heroine, lives not in a world of sexy vampire sexiness, but among a bunch of redneck bloodsuckers and shape-shifters entangled in a transparent plot line that seriously calls the books' "mystery" label into question. To top it off, the characters are subject to some of the worst writing I have ever, ever read. I know elementary schoolers who could give Charlaine Harris some tips.
But if a bad plot and crappy writing were all that was wrong with this Sookie Stackhouse book, I might be able to let it pass. The thing runs so thick with gender-stereotypical, anti-feminist blood, it's nigh undrinkable. Sookie constantly moons at "real" men who do "real" men things, like build stuff. Real men love building stuff! But the best part is when she gets raped by her boyfriend and then feels bad about how she might have hurt him.
That's right! Bill, one of Sookie's "real" men, rapes her in the trunk of a car. Afterward, Sookie wonders if having feelings for another man might have been wrong. I put the book down after that. Feel free to spoil the ending for me.
Can anyone out there recommend a good vampire novel that isn't patently offensive to women?