THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES BY GRADY HENDRIX ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A sweet little book club of proper southern ladies are faced with their own adventure when a real life vampire moves into and begins terrorizing their gated community. Pros: a wonderful story of friendship, heroism, trusting your gut and the intrinsic strength inside of a bookish southern belle. Cons: Edward Cullen did not make an appearance.
A few months ago, my friend Paige sent me this book as a gift. She said “I really think you will enjoy it” plus the title has the word “vampires” in it, so I was excited to read it and it did not disappoint. First of all, I love the cover. I know you technically aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, I am aware. I am also aware that as an artist, good illustrations and/or design aesthetic mean a lot to me. It is what it is. I loved the artwork and even the book interior was beautiful. The title had me on the fence though because when titles tend to be too long, I am unsure. I can’t explain that one, I just know myself and I know that they tend to turn me off to the book. I am glad it didn’t deter me this time because the title is perfect, truly. Paige sent me the physical copy of the book but I recently reinstated my subscription to audible and have been on a roll with it, so I listened to it on audiobook while I worked during the day. It was an easy listen and I immediately was invested in the story within the first few chapters. The main character, Patricia Campbell, tries her best to be a good southern housewife. Her kids are kind of to themselves, her husband is a workaholic and her mother in law has dementia and is frequently argumentative and therefore requires round the clock care. Her life isn’t perfect but she does have one thing that she loves: her book club. The book club starts out reading boring, banal books, but then a few of the members splinter off from the main group and form a book club that they insist is not a book club. In this non book club, they get to read the really good stuff like The Stranger Beside Me and not have to tell their husbands about it. Scandalous. However, and not to directly quote Bella Swan but things were getting a little… strange. One night, Patricia goes outside to take out the garbage and is viciously attacked by one of her neighbors. THE NERVE. The old lady is a snarling mess and lunges at her in the darkness, biting a piece of her ear off in the process. She later dies in the hospital and Patricia is left stunned and with only 1.5 ears. That is just the tip of the iceberg though. I do not want to give away any more spoilers. This book is an incredibly enjoyable read and has many emotional, suspenseful and downright shocking twists and turns that you deserve to get to experience for yourself. I will note a few moments that had me shook though and you can skip ahead if you’d prefer to stay blissfully unaware until you can get yourself a copy.
I audibly gasped at one part when Dracula is referenced and the puzzle pieces kind of fit together. Which I found to be amazing seeing as I knew from the moment I read the title that vampires would be in this book. That is quite a feat to still shock me even though I know what I am getting myself into. Bravo.
The classism and white privilege in this book are as relevant as ever. As a southern lady myself, all of these takes felt authentic and familiar and I loved the camaraderie across city limits, skin color and circumstance.
The sexism is also palpable and enraged me as always. Her husband is a prick and Patricia isn’t about the bullshit though, even if she remains complacent for a time. She eventually comes into her own and realizes who she is, what she is worth and where she stands. Honestly, we love this for her and I physically cheered her on as I listened along.
The friendship and the girl power had me up in arms. I love a good story of heroism and I love it even more when it comes in forms you least expect it to. These women were bored with their books so they changed it up, they knew there was a vampire in the town and they took care of it, no man necessary. They got shit done and that is the kind of energy I am always trying to have.
All in all, I highly recommend this book. It combines all of my favorite things into one story. True crime, female friendships, discovering your own power, etc. This book was great and I can’t wait to read it again.