Dracula Could Show up in Your Book Club One Day
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix is a Southern based supernatural story set in the 90’s about an average housewife named Patricia and her fellow book club members consisting of the other neighborhood housewives: Grace, Kitty, Slick, and Maryellen. A mysterious new inhabitant in town shakes up the book club and the Charleston community.
I really liked this book from beginning to end. I was very excited to start this after The Final Girl Support Group and Grady Hendrix delivered. His writing is wonderful. This is a well written story with ever so relevant, deep, social commentary. Patricia is a compelling and sensitive character who turns into the assertive woman that she has always been. The supporting book club cast are a fantastic group of resilient characters that have interesting interactions with each other and Patricia. They are the stars of this story and make a lot of the plot work so well. You feel like you know these women or maybe even live next to someone similar.
James Harris represents something that is quite common but is done with a very cool twist. I liked his character a lot. The conflict feels very real minus the supernatural aspect. He is fully realized and the most interesting when he is interacting with Patricia and the book club.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires gets dark. Much darker than I expected and I believe darker than The Final Girl Support Group. However, it being dark is not a negative thing. The story feels very real and plausible. The allegories are well done and the story being more grounded in reality is easy to understand while still being somewhat more weird and unique.
The pacing is perfect and keeps the reader engaged. The mystery aspect and reveals make it a page turner and you want to see what’s going to happen to Patricia and the book club next. This can also be accredited to the tension as well. In addition to the funnier or darker moments, the tension build ups are perfectly presented. There are some twists throughout the story and I enjoyed every single one. They are all built up to and executed perfectly and recontextualize a lot of what you may already know or predict which keeps things fresh.
The book club’s group dynamic stands out throughout the book and is the heart of the story. Notably, they reminded me a lot of the group of the dynamic of the older women in Yellowjackets, however there is indeed an actual book club in this story.
One of my favorite parts of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was the climax. The plot is set up well, but quite slow. There is a very well done payoff once everything starts to unravel.
The ending was a little bit sad, but I liked it and it served the overall message. This is a solid vampire book. Patricia is a very layered and complex character. Her story is extremely relatable and the choices and actions she and the book club take and make are understandable. I liked the focus on life as a woman, especially the expectations on a married mother. The female friendship is written to feel so real and a beacon of positivity when they are in sync working together.
Overall, this was a great Grady Hendrix vampire book. I laughed, I cringed, I got sad. If you’re looking for a relatable book about vampires, being a woman, friendship, or a snapshot of the south in the 90’s, look no further.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (2020) The Beaumont Public Library System