Monday, June 7, 2010

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

(First, I must thank Kate, who left on top of her printer a pretty paperback book, with a green-and-pink cover, a book so thin that I took it out to the garden and read it in one hour.)

Weetzie Bat, by Francesca Lia Block, is a brief, luminous fairy tale about love and happiness in Hollywood.

Weetzie Bat is a beach girl, "...skinny...with a bleach blonde flat-top....sugar-frosted eye shadow...." She first has friends, then lovers, then a family, but the author touches on biography only for continuity; instead, she chooses, by bombarding the reader with an array of magical images, to draw the reader into the shimmering Technicolor world that Weetzie inhabits: "...tomahawks and plastic palm tree wallets...a fountain that turned tropical soda-pop on a music box with a little dancing monkey on top...."

The cottage in which Weetzie dwells, with children and puppies and friends, was given to her by a genie who emerged from a gold bottle, and the three wishes seem inevitable and natural in the dream that is Weetzie's life: "There were roses and lemon trees in the garden, and two bedrooms inside the house--one painted rose, the other aqua. The house was filled with plaster Jesus statues, glass butterfly ashtrays, paintings of clowns, and many kinds of coasters."

Block's characters are simple and loving. They worry about the evils in the world, which sometimes drives them to distraction and almost drives them away from the Eden they have made with each other, but somehow love heals everything well enough for a while, even if not enough for "happily ever after."

This amazing book, which feels like a poem, makes the reader's own surroundings, at least for the moment, surreal and beautiful, gifts from a genie's bottle.

B&N link

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