Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by Becca Wilcott
Published by ECW Press
With the cultural phenomenon that is “True Blood”, it was inevitable that episode guides, companions, and compendiums would shortly follow. People tune in every week to witness the further adventures of Sookie Stackhouse and vampires, demons and werewolves (oh my!), and people seem to fall on either side of the fence with no in-betweeners: People either love it or hate it. Becca Wilcott, it seems, is one of the former as her new book Truly Madly Deadly: The Unofficial True Blood Companion brings insight and information about this cult series.
This companion contains much of what one would expect from such a book. Main cast biographies, interviews about the creative process involved in writing the show, a chapter devoted to Charlaine Harris (upon whose work the show is based), and episode guides to the first two seasons. There are also notations for every episode’s highlights, creepiest moments, and little bits of trivia about the set, music and cast members.
Where the book really shines, however, is in the articles that don’t specifically pertain to the series. Starting with the first article, “Immortal Love,” Wilcott explores the reasons behind vampires’ enduring image throughout our (and other) cultures. She also discusses several of the traditional fokloric aspects of vampirism and the implications of whether or not vampires are sexual predators. One of the more interesting articles examines the alternative lifestyles that are attracted to the show and what it means to them. Actually, there are two articles about this very subject, one which very closely examines the LGBT metaphor in “True Blood”. It also takes a good look at a few of the fans with role-players on Twitter and interviews with screenwriter Karen Walton and author Kevin Jackson, whose Bite: A Vampire’s Handbook discusses meetings with “real” vampires.
But for all the great information, and there is a lot to be had, the book feels like it’s missing a few things. For starters, the cast biographies are great and well detailed, but fans would like to see the character biographies as well. There are a few stories of how Bill lived through the Civil War, but origins are made of much more. Further, the color photo section of the book contains a paltry eight pictures, a few of which look like surprise mug-shots. While I’m sure getting the rights to stills from the series would be difficult (HBO isn’t known for giving up such things cheaply), a few more photos of the cast, the set, even the crew would have been nice.
In all, this book is exactly what it says it is, a companion piece, and a damned good one at that. Don’t look to it to be an “A to Z” guide or a complete “True Blood” compendium, but it’s worth having on the shelf or by your side while watching the series.
3 1/2 out of 5
Discuss Truly Madly Deadly: The Unofficial True Blood Companion in our forums!