Bayou Tapestry
Bayou Tapestry

After I read the first eight books of the Sookie Stackhouse series I was like a stag at the end of rutting season; exhausted with gritty red eyes and barely stumbling around after such an intense period of visceral enjoyment. I could not stop reading. I can only be thankful that I was unemployed and brutally depressed. I was able to devote most of my time to scandalous page-turning.

“The Southern Vampire Sex Chronicles” wasn’t my first trip to the literary vampire sex party. I read the “Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice. Ok, I read the first two books. They were pretty awesome with all the implied man-on-man sensuality and all the dudes had silken hair curling around the collar of their velvet frock coats.

When Lestat made his own mother into his unholy vampire child you could have knocked me over with a feather. Though I was delivered a resolute uprighting when I heard Lestat talk about ‘the succulent Tough Cookie” in his way hot rock’n’roll band I was done. From that point on Lestat and I were over. In fact I rebelled from all things Rice. I can go the rest of my life without ever seeing the words “jewel-encrusted brocade” ever again. Nevertheless, I was down with vampires, though never the Vampyres. That’s just dumb.

When “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” rolled around I was into that too. Waaaay into that. Buffy was my first fandom; introduced me to my first slash fiction and inspired me to write my own.

I wasn’t into it from the very beginning though, not right away. In fact, I bagged on my mom for watching such a ridiculous show. I was forced to eat my words when I caught a few reruns on FX and from then on I was an insane super-fan. Thank god my husband was working nights during that time. I was left alone to watch every episode multiple times. It was also during this period that I drank the remaining 25 bottles of wine left over from my wedding. The two things may or may not be related.

I’m no Dracuologist so I’m not gonna dissect the vampire mythos. Let’s just all be in agreement when I say that vampires=sex. “Buffy” did a great job illustrating this. Sex was blood and blood was sex but, since it was TV, they could only go so far. Sookie Stackhouse has no trouble going that far and further.

The stories are cracking and very soapy with the weaving and connecting plots. I can certainly never figure out the ending, but I’m not that kind of gal anyway. I like that they’re set in the South so I recognize the people and the environment: the heat, the chiggers, and the rednecks.

I’ve even waited tables so I know exactly how greasy Sookie feels at the end of each shift. I read these books for the sex. Or did I do it for the story? I honestly don’t know. I do know one of the books, “Dead as a Doornail,” Sookie doesn’t have sex at all and it’s buuullshit. But at the very end of that book, she meets Quinn, the weretiger. She’s covered in blood because she just witnessed werewolf Thunderdome and he cleans her off with his delightfully scratchy tongue. Daaaaamn.

But it’s not all sticky bayou doin’ it; there are other good things too. They talk about food a lot, and that’s great. The books are set in Louisiana so they’re always eating chicken fried steak and fried pickles and home fries. Frosty pitchers of iced tea are passed around tables heaped with banana pudding and ambrosia salad. It was like dinner at my grandma’s house, but with far more murder and sex with the undead.

Regardless of all the supernatural activity, the town of Bon Temps is easy to slip into. Some people are good, some are evil, and some look like crap. Charlaine Harris does an excellent job describing what people are wearing and it is inevitably shit; at least that’s how it looks on the page.

One time Tara wore “brown shorts with a teal and brown tank top.” This from the owner of Tara’s Togs! I shudder to think what else she had on the rack, like Chico’s cum Anthony’s. Sookie frequently wears knit tops and gold sandals whilst eating Freschetta pizzas. I love her realness. Harris brings her characters to life perfectly. She’s a very economic writer and I love that.

Putting myself in Sookie’s place is one of my favorite leisure time activities. She has great boobs and a stout heart. She’s the star of the series but unlike many other heroines, she actually deserves the interest of the surrounding cast of characters. She’s 3 dimensional and has very clear wants and desires of her own. She enjoys having a man in her life but knows that if she doesn’t she’s still a worthy person. It’s difficult to find a female character like that in print or on the screen.

Sookie has strength, confidence, and humility. Don’t we all want that? Sometimes I dream about being put to a superhuman test just to see what I’m made of. And no, not like “You should run a marathon, and then you’d really test your mettle.” Fuck that. Running is for people trying to get away. I’m talking about a crazy crisis situation (no guns allowed) where there’s nobody to take charge but me and I have to lead a ragtag group of survivors out of an overturned ocean liner. I can only hope I’d handle it as well as Sookie does.

Sookie does have powers of her own (telepathy) but she’s not freakishly strong or invulnerable; though I think that by the end of the series her bangin’ bod will be a veritable scar atlas. As a gal who loves a good scar, I am totally on board with this.

I like Sookie because she’s not a damsel in distress. She’s killed some bad guys and she feels bad about it, but she doesn’t let it get her down. We should all be so lucky to move on from our past mistakes.

Unfortunately, they can’t all be winners. My interest began to flag once the fairies came on the scene. They weren’t very sexy and without that motivation, I found it hard to give a shit. By that time Sookie and Eric the ice-cold Viking had gotten together and like all will they/won’t they relationships things got boring PDQ, even with all of the true love style boning.

I read the rest of the books in the series though I’d be hard-pressed to share any details. Alexi Romanov shows up at one point. Right then I thought, “Now that’s just too much.” Even then I stuck with Sookie. I knew she would always show me a good time and in the end, she did. On the last page of the final book, I was genuinely happy for her and wished her the best. That’s more than I can say about most of the people I see every day.

You can follow Erin Byrne on Twitter @ErinLadyByrne. There you will find lecherous messages sent to various members of the “Hollyoaks” cast.

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