My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.5 instead of 4. (Goodreads, bring back the half-star system!) Poole’s bio on small-screen legend Vampira admits upfront that there is not a lot of material to work with and eventually evolves into a cultural survey of the movements and events that not only shaped the creation of Vampira, but tracks the effect the character had on subsequent pop culture. I personally loved this approach–the structure was very similar to Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson, although not as dense. There are some weak spots where specific examples of Vampira’s work or interviews could have lent strength to some of Poole’s argument. For example, many of the ends of chapters are focus more on Poole’s statements of Vampira’s impact, than statements she herself or other people may have made. But Poole’s insights inspired plenty of curiosity & research topics for this reader, so I’m willing to overlook that. Other reviews here on Goodreads note that some of the book may have some of its facts wrong & they are probably more familiar with the Vampira mythos than I. I was fascinated & eager to get my hands on my own copy of the book so I could make more notes. Recommended for those interested in the origins of contemporary American goth or those who love the freaks and subversives that hang at the margins of the horror genre.