Weetzie Bat Lives

Okay, so you know I’m not a fan. And no, it’s not that it’s that bad of a book. It’s just a rather pretentious author… In my less than humble opinion, anyway. Francesca Lia Block, of Weetzie Bat fame, is talking up her game again. Check out the NY Times comments here. (Sorry — it requires that free registration thingie — but hey, you only have to do it once.) The Times ran this piece because in January, the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association gave Block the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, sponsored by School Library Journal. The awards web site says it “recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role” in society. I don’t recall learning much about anyone’s role in society with ol’Weetzie, but I certainly remember having more awareness of sparkles, smog, stereotypically kind old ladies and oleander. And matching bookend gay guys like Dirk and Duck, of course. Everyone simply must have the quintessential pair of fun and well-dressed homosexuals to make their lives sitcom perfect. Weetzie Bat is beautifully written with some truly evocative passages about a Los Angeles that used to be, and the plot is ingeniously surreal. I was nonetheless disappointed with the slippery grasp Block has on some of the incidents in the book. Um, Weetzie was tied up and essentially raped on a date, and it was like, “Oh well.” Her father dies of AIDS — not usually something that happens on a good day, but it was all turned into this blissed out movie set: hero-rides-off-into-the-sunset sort of thing. Childbirth, drug use, things that normally cause the average person at least a moment’s pause are all sort of blunted, like everybody’s snorting that good old L.A. stardust, and in love with just being near the beach, the beautiful people, and Hollywood. I don’t quite understand that. (I’m pretty sure it’s a So.Cal. thing.)I found myself more bewildered than anything about the popularity of this book, even as I found the quirky characters engaging, and even as I appreciated the less judgmental aspect of a late 80’s book depicting divorced families without turning the plot into some hideous Terms of Endearment emo-fest. I enjoyed Weetzie Bat and its sequels well enough, but a lifetime achievement award? I comfort myself with the thought that AT LEAST THERE’S NO MOVIE!!!Yet.Beware the Ides of March.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.