Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weetzie Bat

Block, Francesca Lia. Weetzie Bat. New York : Harper & Row, 1989.
[Book cover credit:]

ALA Best Books for Young Adults (1990)
ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
Parents' Choice Gold Award

Francesca Lia Block is also the recipient of the 2005 Margaret A Edwards Award for the books in the Weetzie Bat series, of which this is the first.

Weetzie Bat (real name) is a not quite typical high school student. When she meets Dirk, another not quite typical high school student, they become fast friends riding around in his car, visiting his grandmother, and looking for cute boys. This short novel chronicles their not quite typical Los Angeles young adulthood as they move into a house of their own, fall in love with their respective beaus, and start a family, complete with a couple of indie movie gigs to prove they're really in LA.

There is no space in this little book for exposition. Instead of describing the places and time that Weetzie and co. live in, Block sets the reader down in an LA even the people who live there have only heard about. Anything can and will happen. In the same way, the plot rushes past without hardly any marker of time. What anchors this story is the wonderful characters. Their unique personalities make this book easy to relate to and insure that there is someone in this slim novel for every reader to relate to.

This modern day, boho, so-cal, indie fairytale tells the perpetually happy story of Weetzie and her Secret Agent Lover Man, Dirk and his Duck, and a smattering of other people who come in and out of their fantastic lives. This story is about building a family of friends in the face of differing standards, evolving relationships, births, deaths, AIDS, and often surreal circumstances. Though there are some heady issues being addressed in Weetzie Bat the story remains light and carefree, so channel your inner bohemian and enjoy the read!

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