Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sookie Stackhouse and other vices

National Health Blog Post Month Day 13: What’s your favorite book and how can you tie it to your health or life? 

 

Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse
Since HBO's True Blood is dead and gone until next summer, I decided to check out the books from whence the TV show came. The first book, I thought, was awful. The second one? Not impressed. The third one? Eh, not bad. Now, I'm on book ten and I'm certifiably obsessed.  I love reading about my favorite characters (namely, Eric Northman)--but with all kinds of crazy plot twists we haven't seen on TV. Spoiler alert: Sookie (protagonist, telepath, object of everyone's affection) dates a "weretiger" in book seven. Weird, I know.

Much as I love the books, I'm genuinely surprised by how much Sookie talks about tanning beds throughout the series. Of all things! Naturally, I'm more sensitive than the average person when it comes to tanning talk, but really, Sookie? Really?!

Here are some examples. Let at me put my college lit major to use:

  • "I took a deep breath, turned to the mirror, and slapped on some makeup. My tan wasn't great this far into the cold season; but I still had a nice glow, thanks to the tanning bed at Bon Temps Video Rental." - Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 3)
  • "His companion's face might have been sculpted from marble. Had the woman never heard of a tanning bed?" - Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 5)
  • "I enjoyed lying in the sun in a little bikini, timing myself carefully so I didn't burn. I loved the smell of coconut oil. I took pleasure in shaving my legs and removing most of my other body hair so I'd look smooth as a baby's bottom. And I don't want to hear any lectures about how bad tanning is for you. That's my vice. Everybody gets one." - Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 5)
  • "Every year I thought of all the reasons I shouldn't lie out in the sun. Every year I added up my virtues: I didn't drink, I didn't smoke, and I very seldom had sex, though I was willing to change that. But I loved my sun, and it was bright in the sky today. Sooner or later I'd pay for it, but it remained my weakness. I wondered if maybe my fairy blood would give me a pass on the possibility of skin cancer. Nope: my aunt Linda had died of cancer, and she'd had more fairy blood than I had. Well... dammit." -Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 9)
One thing I find particularly interesting is that over the course of the series, Sookie's tone evolves. It goes from "I use tanning beds and everyone else should, too" to "stop giving me a hard time for tanning" to "I hope I don't get skin cancer from tanning so much." I suppose, from a literary standpoint, Sookie's bronze skin makes her a good foil to her paler than pale vampire suitors. But when something like suntanning makes its way into popular chick lit, it's indicative that tanning has become ubiquitous in American culture.

A few of my favorite vices that Sookie might try as a tanning substitute:
  • Pinterest
  • Weekly manicures
  • ABC's Revenge
  • Cheese
  • Vanilla lattes
  • Cheesy vampire novels :)

***

This post was inspired by the Day 13 prompt for National Health Blog Post Month.
View posts by other participants.

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