Friday, July 1, 2011

Read & React: Dead Until Dark, Part 3

Welcome Dearly Beloved, and thank you for coming.  We are gathered here today for our third Read & React!

Put on your best Sunday-Go-To-Meetin' clothes, as we attend several very solemn gatherings, in Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, which is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Please join me as I read (& react!) for the very first time to this highly praised novel.

Before we begin, a quick note on spoilers: There will be some (OK lots) - but only for the chapters actually covered in the post, and as we go on, the chapters that have been covered in previous weeks.  I may also make comparisons between the chapters covered and all seasons of HBO's adaptation of the series, True Blood.

As far as the comment section, please join in!!  I want to know what you think of my commentary, of the story itself, the characters, everything!  But if you've read the series before, or read ahead in this book, please don't let anything slip about what's coming up next!  Thanks in advance!

In case you missed them, here are the previous Read & React posts::
Part 1 - Chapters 1 & 2.
Part 2 - Chapters 3 & 4.

Now that all that's out of the way, straighten your tie, smooth your skirt, adjust your substantial hat, and let's get to the chapters!


What Happens:

Sookie soon realizes that Andy Bellefleur has begun to hang out at Merlotte's, always sits in her section, and every time she approaches his table he begin to "think" at her, trying to get her to read his mind again, so he can "catch" her when she reacts.  It's like a game to him, but Sookie can't for the life of her figure out why he even cares.  Then one day as she nears his table with a glass of soda, he mentally imagines her and her brother Jason having sexy times, which is the last straw.
"Andy had looked up with an expectant face, and when he saw tears an amazing range of things ran across his face in quick succession: triumph, chagrin, then scalding shame.

I poured the damn Coke down his shirt.

I walked right past the bar and out the back door."
Sam follows her out, wanting to know what's wrong, and when she tells him, Sam drags Andy out and makes him apologize.  Sookie tells him that maybe he should spend his time trying to find out who the murderer is, rather than playing dirty mind games with her.

She calms down and goes back inside to finish her shift, and at the end of the day Sam asks if he can take her to the Descendants of the Glorious Dead meeting that evening, where Bill Compton was going to speak about the Civil War, and then out for coffee after.  Sookie agrees, even though she is unsure of the wisdom of going on a date with her boss.  He picks her up in his truck and they arrive at the meeting hall just as everyone is settling into place.  Bill arrives, and Maxine Fortenberry (Hoyt's mother) introduces Bill to the eager audience, and Bill begins to describe what life was like during the Civil War.  Before long the entire gathering is spellbound by his words as he talks of how Bon Temps' ancestors lived and fought and sometimes died, some bravely, and some less so.  After the crowd surges around him to thank him and welcome him into the community, and Sam and Sookie slip away unnoticed.

They go to a diner for coffee and pie, and Sam suddenly asks Sookie if she has feelings for Bill.  She answers truthfully, and they argue.
"I've always liked you."

"So much that you had to wait till someone else showed an interest, before you mentioned it to me?"
Sam takes her home and kisses her good night, and Sookie waits for him to drive away before she opens the door to go inside the house.  She assumes that Gran would be home from the meeting by now, but when she calls out, no one answers.  Feeling as if something is wrong, she wanders through the house flipping on lights and calling out for Adele, before finally arriving in the kitchen, where she turns on the light and finds Gran on the floor, dead, and covered in blood.  Sookie begins screaming uncontrollably, and within moments Bill arrives and pulls her out of the kitchen.

They call the police and Andy Bellefleur arrives, with Jason shortly after, followed by Sam.  Sookie has already figured out that she was the intended victim, as she was supposed to be home alone while Adele was at the meeting.  Jason accuses Bill of the murder, then gets angry at Sookie because Gran left Sookie the house and land, provided she gives her half of their parents house to Jason.  Sam takes Jason away to cool down, and Bill tells Sookie that he agrees with her theory, that whoever killed Dawn and Maudette and come here to kill Sookie also, but instead found Gran just after she had arrived home from the meeting.  Bill also realizes that this whole time Sookie has been trying to clear his name by proving that he couldn't have been involved with Dawn or Maudette.  He assures Sookie that Andy will see that, "even if he is a Bellefleur."

Just then Jason comes back, still angry and blaming her for Gran's death, and slaps her, knocking her to the ground.  Bill jumps between them and helps Sookie, while Sam tackles Jason and drags him off.  Andy watches this all with distaste and wishes he could lock up every last one of them.

The day of the funeral, Sookie stands at the side of the coffin with Jason, her face sore and bruised, and feels more alone than ever.  She realizes that all Gran's friends - nearly the whole town - have come to the cemetery.  The day passes in a blur, with Sookie and Jason not saying a word to each other until someone asks about Adele's brother, Bartlett.  Jason tells Sookie that they will need to call Bartlett and tell him, and Sookie tells Jason that he will have to do that himself.  He agrees, and they don't speak to each other again for the rest of the day.


Damn it, Gran!!  Why you gotta go and get yourself killed?  (headdesk, headdesk, headdesk, facepalm)

I'm curious how Jason even knew what was in Gran's Will, when she's not even cold yet.  And why he should care that Sookie gets Gran's house, when he already has their parents house?  I don't get it.  Maybe it's grief.

And once again we get a glimpse that Bill has some prejudice against the Bellefleur name.  Something from the past - an old family feud perhaps?

The funeral sounded nice though, along with all the nosy gossips, er, I mean well-wishers.

Sam needs to either "you-know-what" or get off the pot, to misuse an old phrase, but at least he comes through for Sookie when it really counts.  Like when her brother is smackin' her around and blaming her for things she had nothing to do with.  Never mind the inappropriateness of dating your employee. Gah!

Ah well!  You know.  Good times!!

Also I would like to point out that Sookie showers, and changes clothes, like, A LOT.  I mean good for her, and all, I'm glad she does, and I'm sure her friends and co-workers appreciate it as well, 'cause, you know, it sucks to work with someone who's kinda smelly.  So good on you, Sookie!  But do we have to read about it every single time??  I mean, really, if you show up at work or a date, I'll just assume that you showered, shaved your legs, and changed your clothes already, and then we can skip all the details.  K? K!

Chapter 6

What Happens:

Sookie stays home for the next three days.  Arlene helps her pack up all of Gran's belongings, and Sookie decides to move into Gran's room.  After cleaning all day, she showers, (again?  Oh hell...) and Bill comes over just after she gets out of the shower and she invites him in.  They sit on the couch and he combs the tangles out of the wet hair while she relaxes and enjoys his mental silence, and he opens up and tells her all about his human family - his wife and children - from before he became a vampire.  Then they kiss, and he picks her up and carries her into her new bedroom, where they have obnoxious and frightening chats about her virginity and yada yada nakedness blah blah ew gross yada yada.  Then he uses some of his blood to heal her vajayjay so that they can rinse and repeat.

The next day at work, Jason comes in for lunch, and when she asks him how he's doing, he confides to her that the police have questioned him again about the deaths of Dawn and Maudette.  Sookie tells him that he needs to get a lawyer, and Jason agrees, telling her that Rene suggested the same thing.

Meanwhile, even with Bill's healing blood application she's still a little sore, but oh so happy and relaxed, and Arlene figures out she's been having some "fun" and wants to know who the lucky guy is.  When Sookie informs her co-workers that it was Bill, everyone freaks out for about thirty seconds, and then does their best to be supportive and happy for her.  Except for Sam who pulls down her collar to reveal the fang marks on her neck.

"Oh, shit," Lafayette said, very softly. 

I looked right into Sam's eyes, thinking I'd never forgive him for doing this to me.  "Don't you touch my clothes," I told him, stepping away from him and pulling the collar back straight.  "Don't tend to my personal life."

"I'm scared for you, I'm worried about you," he said, as Arlene and Charlsie hastily found other things to do.

"No you're not, or not entirely.  You're mad as hell.  Well listen, buddy. You NEVER GOT IN LINE."
Later in the evening, Bill stops into Merlotte's to say hi to Sookie, and while he's still there, Malcolm & Diane come in, hissing and showing fang and making a scene, laughing about Gran's death, and wondering when Sookie will die, too.  Sookie thinks that they are trying to turn the town folk against Bill, but the fact that he protects her from the two psychotic vampires actually seems to work in his favor.  Malcolm & Diane leave, and Sookie decides that they should leave the bar as well, so they drive back to Bill's house so that he can show her the remodelling work that's been done so far, and the big, new, fancy bathroom with the big, new, shiny spa tub, and they take a bath together.


Seriously?  Another bath? (sigh)

So, if Bill the vampire can use his blood to heal her wounds, including her hymen, why doesn't he use his blood to heal the fang marks on her neck?

And what is the deal with Malcolm and Diane?  Are they just trying to stir the pot and make things difficult for Bill to "mainstream," or is there something else going on?  Or maybe they are just bored and bitchy?  And where's Liam?  And why doesn't Bill just like, snap them like a twig or something?

And now that Jason's in trouble again, suddenly he's being nice-ish to his sister?  What's up with that?

Oh yeah, and Sam?  WHAT'S YOUR DAMAGE?!?

Differences Between the Book and True Blood:

Pretty much we are still on track, with very few differences between the show and the book.  The main differences I've noticed are:
  • The only thing I remember at this point is that, Uncle Bartlett actually came to Gran's funeral, because Jason called him without telling Sookie.
  • Jason hit Sookie at the funeral, not the night Gran died.
  • I think that's it?

So the bottom line is that, at the halfway point in the novel, we now have lots of questions, and very few answers.  Who's going around killing people?  Is Jason really a jerk, or just overcome with grief?  Will Sam always be a douche canoe, or will he grow up and start acting like a normal not-quite-human being?

Quick procedural note: Part 4 will be delayed until Tuesday, due to the July 4th holiday.  I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend, and I'll see y'all back here next week!!

Until then, please leave YOUR commentary below!  But remember, if you've read ahead, don't spoil anything for those of us who haven't!  Thanks for joining, and we hope to see you for the next edition of...



  1. Boy oh Boy! It was super hard to stop reading this week, I want to find Gran's killer and beat them to a pulp! So my thoughts . .
    1) that was an awfully violent death for a little old lady, seemed a little overkill.
    2) I really am starting to hate Jason.
    3) Why isn't Sookie even the least bit suspicious of Bill? He seems to be around all the violent things.
    4) Whats the deal with Adele's brother? should he be a suspect? Why bring him up now?
    5) um eww why can't they just wait for round two like normal people?!
    6) If Bill knows people like Malcolm and Diane, maybe he was a bad vamp too, maybe Sookie should think about that.

    Hehe I love your comment about the showers, I was noticing that too, its like those historical romances I read on occasion where they feel the need to describe every meal in detail even though its all bread trenchers with some kind of stew and sometimes fish with a dill cream sauce! Although from the description, I kind of want some of her clothes, they sound really cute!

  2. Ooh, sometimes I hate being ahead of the game!

    Jason, well, he's just a very selfish and self-absorbed person and later in the series, you'll meet another person who's very similar and for the same reasons...

    And if you continue with the series, come book four, you'll be applauding Sookie's ablutions, I promise you - LOL!

  3. @~Ang Hiya! You're totally right about #3, she just assumes that he's got nothing to do with it, even though there's no proof.
    And #5 - My thoughts exactly! (squirm)

  4. @diaryofadomesticgoddess Hiya Goddess - Thanks for stopping in again - I enjoy your comments and am glad you came back. I keep hearing that Book #4 is the best of the series, or peoples' favorite in general, so I'm kinda anxious to get there, eventually...