Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Block_WeetzieBatBlock, Francesca Lia. Weetzie Bat. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. Print.

Genre: YA novella

Summary: Weetzie Bat is just your ordinary skinny California girl until she coaxes a genie out of lamp and makes three wishes that will make all her dreams come true…sort of.

Critique: You know how Dirty Dancing (1987) used all that sexy swaying to become this huge hit movie despite being about abortion? Well this book does that, too, only its language is the sexy swaying and its core topic is AIDS. Won’t it be interesting to see if director Elgin James retains this feature as he directs the forthcoming film?

The magical realism of this book succeeds in large part because the writing feels like the sparkling fun tumble of confetti. And yet, to be such a condensed story suggests meticulous editing, whittling, deciding, and killing of darlings. I admire Block’s savagery. Readers must bring more to the story than is provided on each page. The result is a thoroughly satisfying partnership between the story and the reader. Readers feel like the co-creator of the story.

Stylistically, this novella reads like a poem, with all the crunch and slush of bicycle spokes reciting epic sagas. For instance, “Weetzie and My Secret Agent Lover Man and Dirk and Duck and Cherokee and Witch Baby and Slinkster Dog and Go-Go Girl and the puppies Pee Wee, Wee Wee, Teenie Wee, Tiki Tee, and Tee Pee, were driving down Hollywood Boulevard on their way to the Tick Tock Tea Room for turkey platters.” See how that sentences just rides on and on? Well, the whole book cruises just like that; just like the eighties; just like a bodacious dude or dudette on a skateboard.

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