The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
December 29, 2021 4:03 PM - Subscribe

Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this New York Times best-selling horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town. Written by Grady Hendrix (Final Girl Support Group).
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I enjoyed this but it wasn’t all what I expected-I thought it would be kind of light and escapist but it leaned much more into the horror than I’d expected.
posted by purenitrous at 8:59 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Purenitrous, I’d love to hear what you enjoyed about it, if you want to say more! A friend and I both read it for our “book club of two” and both had problems with it. We objected to the way the white women are the “saviors” of the Black community in spite of being depicted as basically powerless to help themselves through most of the book. It came off to us as racist and muddled.
posted by epj at 9:09 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed this but it wasn’t all what I expected-I thought it would be kind of light and escapist but it leaned much more into the horror than I’d expected.

I thought the same and I loved the combination of the lightness and humor with genuine horror. After I read this early in the pandemic, I sought out and read all his other books, which I was delighted to find have pretty much the same tone. I really love how he's created his own niche - I've never read anyone else doing horror quite this same way.
posted by something something at 7:48 AM on January 4


We objected to the way the white women are the “saviors” of the Black community in spite of being depicted as basically powerless to help themselves through most of the book. It came off to us as racist and muddled.

I felt like the book was pretty emphatic that the white women were the enablers of the atrocity, that their complacency and complicity was critical to the villain's success, that they never really came around to selflessly helping the folks on Six Mile until their own children and lives were at stake. Even their putative victory at the end mostly failed their Black neighbors. If there was an aspect pertaining to race I didn't like, it was that the Black characters were limited to one narrow bit of the socioeconomic spectrum. Having grown up in a South in some ways similar to the one Hendrix describes, I can certainly see how it might have felt that was the reality at the time, but he's had a few decades to realize how blinkered that perspective is.

I thought Mrs. Greene was a pretty good character and I liked that she didn't stay neatly into an archetypal box.

The women of the book club were pretty well-written and the ending was both brutal but believable. This was a step up from Hendrix's Horrorstör but not yet to the level he'd muster with The Final Girl Support Group.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:53 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown, this to me is precisely where Hendrix was trying to have it both ways. The white women absolutely were the enablers, but they were all also victims of their husbands' abuse/control, and I felt that this was Hendrix letting them all off the hook as quickly as he'd put them on it. The book wasn't a serious examination of the culpability of abuse victims in racist violence, but it was throwing out these very serious themes--Black people are victimized first and most! White women are powerless under patriarchy! Nobody can protect the children!--and just letting them hang there.
posted by epj at 12:23 PM on January 24


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