Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Summer Reading Book #1 -- Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block


There is something refreshing about going into a book without knowing anything about it and being plucked fully into a different world, punctuated by eccentric, loving characters. That was my experience with Weetzie Bat

The story is about a young woman named Weetzie Bat and the people in her life. At the forefront is Dirk, her best friend. He confides to her early on that he is gay, and the two spend time trying to find the perfect partners, or “ducks” as Weetzie calls them. Dirk finds that partner in “Duck,” and Weetze finds it with “My Secret Agent Lover Man;” or is his name Max? It doesn’t matter.

The four of them live together in Los Angeles in Fifi’s house --- Fifi was Dirk’s grandmother, who died and gave them the house and Weeztie was given her clothes. They make movies and eat sushi.  And eventually Weetzie has a baby. She is named Cherokee, and she is unique because she has three dads. Oh, and then there’s a witch baby, too. Her name is Lily. 

Plus, I forgot to mention the genie. Yes, a genie makes an appearance.

And through it all, Weetzie deals with love, divorced parents, sadness, love, loss, and more love. The prose is minimalist, but peppered with some beautifully vivid imagery:

Weetzie clung to Buzz’s body as they rode his motorcycle through the night. The wind blew on their faces, a summer wind thick with the smell of all-night taco stands.
I was taken with the pop-cultural references throughout the book. When Burt Reynolds was casually mentioned I did a double take and checked the publication date. 1989.  I was in college in 1989, and was roughly the age of Weetzie Bat when the book came out, I realized. Maybe that’s why I was so taken with her world. However, it is a world that is unlike any world I know: dream-like and postmodern to the core. There is something truly authentic about these characters. Eccentric, yes. Weird, yes. But also loving. Flawed. Accepting. And forgiving.

The book is a quick read; a mere 100 pages. And since its publication in 1989, Block has followed up Weetzie Bat with six other novels. The last of which was Pink Smog, published in 2012.

The series has been dubbed "Dangerous Angels," which is a line and a chapter title from Weetzie Bat

I find it comforting to know that I can revisit Weetzie’s world six more times. 


There are two copies of this book available in District 214. Plus, it is available at  the Arlington Heights Library and the Mt. Prospect Public Library.






 

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