Saturday, 28 July 2007

Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block

We've had the Dangerous Angels series in the shop, unsold, for more than 3 years! How could that happen? I never even considered reading them, but I'm happy I gave it a go, thanks to Soleil, who picked Weetzie Bat for her "Something about me challenge". This book was a short but charming read, a urban fairy tale about love, strange names and magic wishes. Honestly I was a bit put off at the beginning with all those names of places and shops in L.A. that I don't have a clue what they look like, but after a while I just gave up and enjoyed the story. It's about Weetzie Bat, the (real) name of a quirky young woman, who wears "old fifties' taffeta dresses covered with poetry written in glitter or dresses made of kids' sheets printed with pink piglets or Disney characters", has a dog called Slinkster Dog, and has a father who reminds her of a cigarette . Weetzie's best friend is Dirk, who is handsome, cool, and gay. Together they're determined to find the "Duck" of their dreams. I assume Weetzie and her friends are over 18 because they drink, smoke and have casual one night stands while still going to high school. But despite the daring themes that the story touches (including a threesome, Aids and pregnancies) all is told with such delicacy and tact, almost with ingenuity, that I wouldn't be afraid to give it to any teenager, and of course adults, if anything for the ease it shows in dealing with homosexuality and love.
Franscesca Lia Block writing is quick but poetic and musical. She managed to create a world and a way of being in barely 100 pages. Here's one of my favourite quotes:

"In Jamaica there is a night life like nowhere else - your body feels radiant, like orange lights, like Bob Marley's voice, when you dance in the clubs there. In Jamaica we climb the falls holding hands and the water rushes down bluer than your eyes. In Jamaica. In Jamaica it is hot and wet, and the people are hot and wet, and the shells look like flowers and the flowers look like shells, and when you drive down some roads men come out of the bushes wearing parrots on their shoulders and flowering bird cages on top of their heads"
Weetzie said, "Maybe in Jamaica I could find My Secret Agent Lover Man. I can't seem to find it here".

Now I'm in trouble though: I promised I won't be buying/reading anymore books beside those from my "Books I have to read before buying anymore!" list. But I'm afraid I won't be able to resist the next three books in the series for too long!

ps: I've seen another book by F.L. Block on Amazon. It's called "Ruby". I've ordered it for the shop. Has Anyone read it?

pps: I'm proud to say that the book has been finally translated in Italian. look at the cover,isn't it beautiful?


Ana S. said...

I like the sound of this one. My only experience with Francesc Lia Block was with "The Rose and the Beast", a collection of retold fairy tales, but I've been meaning to read more ever since.

valentina said...

Was "the Rose and the Beast" good?
let me know what you think if you read this!

Ana S. said...

It was good, yes. She retold classic fairy tales in a urban/modern setting, but it worked really well.

Dewey said...

I read this when it first came out, but I only vaguely remember it. I know I liked it, though!

soleil said...

so far all the books i've read by FLB are fantastic. i have almost all of them. another really good one is her collection of short stories called Girl Goddess #9. another of my favorites is called Echo. she is just amazing with delicate subject matter and i love the way she writes and combines a poetic lyricism with a sense of magic and fairy tales. it delights so many parts in me.

KHB said...

I just wanted to let you know that Book Dragon was moving over to - I know I hate it when I link to someone, and they change their URL without letting me know, so I thought I'd drop you a line.

Julie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you get to read Love, Stargirl soon! I also read Weetzie Bat, and I can honestly say that I have never read another book quite like it! (Every now and then the name Secret Agent Lover Man comes unbidden into my head! Very catchy name...)