Ladies We'd Like To Bring to Life: Sookie Stackhouse

Posted at 10:00 AM Jul 01, 2009

By Geoff George

Go into any Barnes & Noble these days, and odds are you'll run into some gargantuan, employee-constructed edifice to the Twilight book series. Likewise, if you check out the New York Times Bestsellers lists, you'll find two other young adult vampire book sagas have sprung up: House of Night ("Vampires in school") and Vampire Diaries ("Vampires in school, with a love triangle.")

"Enough!" I say. Who would want to breathe life into do-nothing high schoolers such as Bella Swan? I've only read the first 10 to 20 pages of Twilight, but in talking to friends, I imagine it takes some endurance to spend three-books-worth of time wondering, "will they or won't they?" Instead, I would submit Sookie Stackhouse (the title character in the series by Charlaine Harris, since spun off onto TV as HBO's True Blood) as the woman with supernatural exploits worth watching in real time.

Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in Merlotte's bar in a nowhere town in Louisiana, in a world where vampires have come out of hiding, thanks to Japanese-manufactured synthetic blood (sweet). Vampires aren't the only supernatural beings either. Sookie herself has ESP, and her boss is a shapeshifter (awesome). Sookie's trying to use her ESP to solve a rash of murders (amazing) while falling for 160-year-old vampire Bill Compton (what? Doubly amazing) who, as a vampire, is the first man whose baser thoughts Sookie doesn't have to endure. This is no doubt a total blessing when considering the split-second, moment-to-moment thoughts of most men in bars. Yikes, am I right, guys?

Anyway, there's murder, there's intrigue, there's (uh oh) harsh language. And there's sex, by god. Like any first-person narrator, Sookie seems like she'd be a little long-winded and oddly forward in actual conversation. Before the completion of the first page, she's informing readers, " ... I don't get out much. And it's not because I'm not pretty. I am." But she takes action and makes choices, damn it, and that'd make her a hell of a lot more interesting to listen to in real life than flip-flopping, adjective-happy Bella, who would bore folks into the ground with descriptions of people "frowning angrily" or "jumping excitedly" and questions about whether she should date Edward or Jacob (I swear I only read the first 20 pages).

After some shallow probing of the NYT bestseller lists, I count a total of 14 vampire-related titles, and 10 of them belong to Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse. Can't be an accident, right? Sorry, Bella. Stay home and try not to get pregnant again. Sookie, please, tell us a story.

[Ed. note: If you're thinking, "Didn't Andrea crap all over these crappy books a while back?" You're right. She did. Are you with Geoff or Andrea on this one?]


Geoff said:

Que wha? Just read your review from December, Andrea. Guess I haven't reached a rape scene yet. That kinda changes things.

I'm still enjoying the writing more than Twilight, though.

Krista said:

NO! Are you even watching the same show I did? Seriously, Sookie is not that amazing. She does not make decisions as she's a 22-year old bartender living at home who hasn't managed to leave the small town she hates. That is not decisive action.

Plus, Bill is a helluva creeper. Just 'cause you can't read someone's thoughts doesn't mean you should sleep with them.

But she is better than Bella, so if we must compare Sookie wins.

BorgQueen said:

Gaaaahhhhh! Dammit I need to get HBO

Red said:

I've not read the books, but I'm obsessed with the show. Sookie's actually one of the least interesting characters, but, as I always say, hot, dirty Louisiana Vampires trump boring, celibate Mormon vampires any day.

Lshygirl5 said:

I didn't like Twilight, but I hate the Sookie Stackhouse series of books ten times more. I think Charlaine Harris should have stopped the series after the first few books, it is like beating a dead horse.

Orangutan said:

Here's two better choices, if you want to go the supernatural lady route: Rachel Morgan (Kim Harrison's 'The Hollows') or Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs).

"Starman" Matt Morrison said:

For what it's worth, House of Night and Vampire Kisses - while being very much YA books written for a teen girl audience - are a LOT better than Twilight.

At the very least, Vampire Kisses has a Manga, which is getting more girls into exploring comics and more fangirls into reading print-only books... which I find very gratifying as a teen librarian.

Anna said:

Vampire Diaries is on the NYT bestsellers? I read those back in the '90s when they were new... I know there's going to be a CW series this fall based on the books, so yay for L.J. Smith if a crappy TV channel has brought new life (and revenue) to her lovely series of YA novels. Elena is most definitely a lady I'd like to bring to life. She makes Bella look like a puddle of pathetic goo.

Ms Harker said:

I agree if you were going to bring either to life it should be Sookie, at least she can change her facial expression and doesn't continually angst about everything in her hardly

Now Anita Blake Vampire Executioner, she is a lady who kicks some arse and gets more than her share of action in the Laurell K Hamilton series. Raunch city!She would be interesting to meet!

Nem said:

having read both series i have to say The Stackhouse series is a far better read, Twilight i kinda had to suffer through. But if you wanna talk about good vampire books then the Night Huntress series takes the cake. It brings reading to a whooole diffrent level and you literally cant put it down. Its kept me up til 4am on a school night before (having to wake at 6am) haha. If i had to wish any character to be brought to life in a movie, it would deffinitly be this one! Jeaniene Frost has a true talent for writing that would blow either of these series out of the water.

Cecilia said:

I'm sorry... But if anyonw were to bring Sookie to life I would have to kill her, so please don't try.
That annoying female is stupid beyond belief and I really hate her. She's an ego-maniac and her taste is so bad she makes me cringe and flinch in pain. I hate that I started listening to the books because now I'm in love with Eric and Pam and all the others and I can't stand the main character. I need to know what happens and it is a painful process. I've stopped counting the times I scream out loud when Sookie does yet another stupid thing, says another idiotic no-IQ-comment or posts yet another proof of extreamly bad taste. I hate her... *huge sigh*

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