Sweetblood -- Pete Hautman


Not so long ago, I was bitching about the weird trend of books about psychotic goth-girls. It figures. Every time I freak out and get all high and mighty about something like that, another book pops up to put me back in my place. I LOVED this book.

Sweetblood is about Lucy Szabo:

It is Sunday, day of rest for some people. I put on my black makeup and my purple lipstick and my black leather jacket and black leggings and my lace-up motorcycle boots and my sunglasses so dark I can hardly see through them and I go out to sit in the shade on the front steps to read Anne Rice and disturb the churchgoing neighbors by my mere existence. I am only pretending to read, though. Mostly I am imagining moving out of my parents' house and into an apartment over by the college and hanging out in coffeehouses and taking writing classes and meeting people who don't know anything at all about me. I don't smoke, but when I imagine independent and on my own I always see myself smoking nonfilter cigarettes and drinking straight espresso from a small, cracked cup.

According to Lucy, she actually isn't goth, but, as one of the other characters says, "Ah, but you are. It's part of the goth mythology that one is not truly goth until they are not-goth."

Lucy is also a diabetic. Her English essay about her theory about diabetes and vampires gets her into trouble:

It seems clear to me that diabetes in the Middle Ages led to the folktales that led to Bram Stoker's book that led to Anne Rice's novels and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the other vampire stuff. Diabetics were the original, the real vampires. They weren't evil or superpowerful or immortal. They were just sick. Like me. I'm actually a proto-vampire. When I take an insulin shot now, I think of it as vampire vaccine. If I quit taking insulin altogether I would become that starving vampire girl from the Middle Ages. I might come crashing into your house and eat your pork stew.

Or whatever.

You never know what a vampire might do to you. 

It's a great book, both clever and real. Fabbity-fab-fab. Highly recommended. (There's actually a discussion group about it this month at Readerville--Pete Hautman is there--so swing by if you're interested).