BINGO – LIBATIONS
[TW: sexual assault/rape]
It’s the early 1990s, and Patricia Campbell lives in a suburb of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, two kids, and mother-in-law. She does what she can to be a picturesque Southern lady: exceptional manners and hospitality, exquisite outfits, pristine home, and exemplary family. She is a perfect Southern peach, and she’s bored. The only outlet she has that is solely for herself is her book club filled with other women just like her. To escape their lives, they choose to read lurid true crime novels, and things seem okay; that is, until one James Harris rolls in to town. Suddenly, women and children are disappearing, children are dying, and people are being attacked. The evidence all points to the fact that Harris is a vampire, and it’s up to the book club to stop him since no one else will.
The first third of this book is a riot. I consistently laughed out loud at the many satirical descriptions of Southern suburban life. The moments of talking about bunko, playing the hand bells in church, apologizing for calling someone after 9pm, the importance of Southern hospitality at all costs, hit very close to home for me. Hendrix does an excellent job of describing what living in the suburbs of the South is really like with just enough satirical acid to highlight the frequent ridiculousness. The only thing I wished for in terms of the humor was for it to extend further. There was definitely a drop in humor after the first third or so, though it picked back up at the end.
If you’re an audiobook reader, I recommend you pick up this audiobook. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is narrated by Bahni Turpin, and she does a wonderful job with her voice work. She plays the reserved Southern who is always saying more than one thing in mixed company to perfection. There is a some strange production and directing quirks with pauses between dialogue, but I can forgive that for how great Turpin does.