Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review: Weetzie Bat

Title: Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
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Description: The name itself should give you a pretty good idea of this novel's exceptional strangeness. Weetzie Bat follows the adventures of Weetzie and her friends Dirk, Duck, My Secret Agent Lover Man, and Slinkster Dog as they navigate the disorienting surrealness of L.A. (the land of skating hamburgers and flying toupees and Jah-Love blonde Indians), star in their own movies, and rely on each other to create a new type of family.

Review: Twenty years after its original publication in 1989, Weetzie Bat won the Phoenix Award in 2009 (awarded to novels that never received a major award at the time of their first release) and to this I say hooray! I can't think of a more exciting and creative book for the honor.  The book reads almost as if you're in a dream, so crazy are some of the situations Weetzie and co. find themselves in.  Visits from genies, beautiful voodoo women, and witch babies give it an almost supernatural feel.  But grounded in the otherworldy are some pretty serious issues, like homosexuality, AIDS, drugs, and divorce. You get the feeling that perhaps Weetzie and her friends have invented their own world to cope with what's happening around them. 

Block's writing has a subtle empathy to it.  Although these characters' lives are completely bizarro, she finds ways to connect their stories to ours in a confusing, exhilarating, and provocative way. 

Bottom Line: The free-wheeling scenarios might be a little out there for some readers, but the emotions are there, and they'll be what you remember and feel longer after the last page. 




Review by Sam
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