Living Dead in Dallas: A Review of Charlaine Harris’ Second Book in Her True Blood Series

dallasIn Living Dead in DallasCharlaine Harris continues the bad luck streak that cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse seems to have been stuck in ever since Bon Temps received its very first vampire. Harris opens her novel much like HBO left off the first season, with the death of somebody in the back of a car in Merlotte’s parking lot. However, unlike HBO’s True Blood, the body in the car will turn out to be the body of one of Sookie Stackhouse’s coworkers, only no one really seems to care which bothers Sookie tremendously.

With the murder of her co-worker, Sookie is floored and hurt, but she soon will find herself in a whole new world of supernatural trouble. In Living Dead in Dallas, Sookie does take on the Maenad in the woods and nearly looses her life to her, but the vampires save her, sucking the poison from her veins. Since they save her, Sookie is now indebted to Eric, so when he requests that she go to Dallas to aid in the search of the missing vampire, Godric, she must comply.

Variations From True Blood

In HBO’s True Blood, Vampire Bill stacked Longshadow when he went to attack Sookie and thus, was forced to make a vampire out of a young girl named Jessica as his punishment. However, In Harris’ Dead Until Dark, it was not Vampire Bill who does the staking and therefore, there is no Vampire Jessica to interfere and complicate Sookie and Bill’s relationship at this point.

Moreover, Godric though meeting the same end in both the book and the series, is portrayed much more as a tortured man in Living Dead in Dallas as opposed to the series which paints him as a man with many regrets and a strong desire for redemption. He is also not Eric’s maker in the book, but is written as such in the True Blood series. The Fellowship of the Sun subplot with Jason Stackhouse is also an invention of the HBO series and not the book.

Main Points of Living Dead in Dallas

Moreover, what is key to this installment of the Sookie Stackhouse books is that Sookie gets attacked by the Maenad in the woods, inevitably goes to Dallas with Bill, uncovers Godric and gets stuck in the attack on the vampire nest where Eric Northman manipulates Sookie in such a way that she will be forever changed.

Overall, Harris delivers with Living Dead in Dallas. She expands greatly on many of the relationships that she introduced in Dead Until Darkand again, sets up the drama and events for what is to come in her following installment.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris is available for purchase through Penguin Books with ISBN 9780441009237.

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Finally, the IRB approves.

In June of 2015, I was on the brink of turning 29 and had just signed all the papers to become the new owner of our little house by the ocean. A week later, I would be fully enrolled in a doctoral program.

I have never done things small.

Today, I am on the brink of turning 32 and am about to have my first baby. Today, I have also been married for 6 months already as well! I don’t know where that time went, but it went.

But also…today, I finally got full IRB approval for my dissertation study which means that this summer, as I am having Logan, I will also have to be writing the first two chapters of my paper to be ready for next school year when my data collection will begin in September.

The hiccup in the entire process for me was that I needed a supervisor to sign off on allowing me to talk to teachers. It’s incredibly hard to get in touch with someone that does not work in your building and really, has no idea who you are amongst a sea of other employees too. I was getting annoyed with the entire process.

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However, something changed in me this year. I’m not sure what it was. I used to be someone who internalized a lot of stuff and who more often than not took other people’s issues/opinions/lack of responses as some reflection of me. The more I think about it, the more deeply rooted in my upbringing I think that all is, but that’s for a much deeper post some other time.

Something did indeed snap within me this year and I just got really tired of being pushed around and swallowing how I was always made to feel mad or inadequate or wrong, what have you in whatever the situation and always by other people. So, when I saw one of the potential people at work yesterday who could very well help me in that scenario, I literally pushed my way through a crowd of children and inserted myself into the conversation he was having.

I introduced myself and who I was and what I needed. The surprising part is that he knew exactly who I was and was more than happy to give me the letter that I needed. Within 20 minutes, the IRB had a digital copy of the letter they were not going to let up on and this morning as I was talking to my dissertation mentor about how I was hopeful that this meant the conditional approval would be lifted in favor of a full approval, the email came in that it was in fact, fully approved and that I was cleared for data collection come September.

Sometimes you just have to push back and you’ll get what you need in order to be where you need to be.

 

It’s Gonna Be May

Anyone else think the Justin Timberlake meme from his N’Sync days with “It’s Gonna Be May” sprawled across the bottom was hysterical? It’s probably the best one that I have seen in awhile.

And here it is, MAY! I don’t know where this year has gone, I feel like it has been on fast-forward ever since I came home from Chicago last summer. I blinked and we were engaged and since then, it’s just been fast-forwarding to November and our wedding. We have almost everything done, and now it’s just working to save and pay for everything. We’re having a relatively small wedding, under 100 people. I am floored at what it costs! I can’t imagine financing one of those HUGE weddings where you invite 500 of your closest friends and wear a Kleinfeld’s gown. Crazy town!!

What I am looking forward to most, is giving the final in my college class tonight because as of next week, this means that my 12 hour days are done for the year and summer will be here before I know it.

I registered for my LAST class for my doctorate, come September I will be considered a doctoral candidate and not a student anymore. I don’t know where that time has gone either. I leave for Dallas in a couple of weeks for my final residency. I have already gained topic approval, and now I am hoping to come home with a mentor-approved research plan, committee-approved research plan AND scientific merit approval which will set me up for IRB approval and thus, the real writing of my dissertation will begin.

Then this summer is clinicals and I am teaching one college class. I’m extremely excited for clinicals.

I also start my certification to become an arts integration specialist. I think this will really help me in being better prepared to set up my case study for my dissertation. Our first class begins in just a few weeks. I am hoping I can juggle it all.

Then, before I know it, it will be November and I’ll be married.

I also added Stephen King’s IT to my 100 Book Challenge.

So far, my 30’s are going a lot better than my 20’s!