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Book Review

There has been a lot of book reading, podcast listening and television binging as of late, way more than normal. As we near the end of summer, it feels like we've watched everything, and there's nothing left to read. One co-worker mourned to me, "There are no good books left to read." But rest assured, Gentle Readers, I have found that new good book!

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. The title fairly sings, doesn't it? This book is so astonishingly good. That sounds like a review out of People Magazine, doesn't it? "Astonishing!"

Set in South Carolina, a small bunch of excommunicated book club ladies form their own Not-a-Book-Club and mostly read true crime. One lady tells her husband it's a Bible study. And then a stranger moves into the neighborhood. And strange and terrible things begin to happen. Our hero, Patricia, is freakishly attacked by an octogenarian neighboor. Children on the wrong side of town are disappearing. Patricia wonders if this new neighbor is a monster, tells herself she is being ridiculous, and then remembers that Ted Bundy's friends and neighbors should have seen the obvious.

Hendrix wrote an earlier book called My Best Friend's Exorcism, and that was all told from the teenagers' perspective. This book is told from the moms' point of view. In the Author's Note, Hendrix writes that as a kid, he didn't take his mom seriously; she was just a housewife who drove him places, and she was in a bookclub. As an adult, he sees all the hits his mom took so his life could be a little more seamless. And he wondered, if you pit a monster with an endless appetite against a mom with endless responsibilities, what would happen? He writes, "As you'll see, it's not a fair fight."

But this book is more than just Mom vs. Dracula. This book is about family, community, racism, sacrifice, and second chances. A little something for everyone, I think.


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