Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block

I love it when a book comes along that feels like it was written for you. When you can read it at a certain point in your life and relate specific events in your life to what you're reading at the time. What makes those books even better is when you realize that those books have been applicable throughout your whole life. That this author doesn't just get what you're going through right now, he/she gets you fundamentally as a person. He/She gets how humanity works...they get relationships, interactions, emotions...they just get it right. That's what Francesca Lia Block has done for me with Dangerous Angels...also known as "The Weetzie Bat Books." And I'm guessing that there are scores of people out there who feel the same way as me on this one.

I don't know what I was expecting going into The Weetzie Bat books, but it certainly wasn't this! You know what I was expecting? I was expecting a sort of juvenille tale with "life lessons" I think and elementary language...cutesy stuff. "Weetzie Bat"'s cute...that's what I thought. And there's a lot here that certainly is cute. The names of the characters for one, but they're cute in a heartwarming, brings tears to your eyes sort of way. What I got instead was quite a powerful series of books that dealt with issues of abandonment, gender, search for meaning, sexual orientation, music, spirituality, love, loss, death, belonging and oh so much more. This is actually a collection of five short novellas. The whole collection is 478 pages. I'm not going to go into each story, but it's basically the story of a young girl named Weetzie and her friend Dirk and the unique family that they form together. Weetzie and her boyfriend, My Secret Agent Lover Man, raise two children together with Dirk and his boyfriend, Duck. The children are Cherokee, the birthchild of a night spent between Weetzie, Dirk and Duck and Witch Baby, the child of My Secret Agent Lover Man and a witch. As you can imagine, there are lots of tales to tell from this unique family. But they are not the strange, bizarre tales that you would think from my description of the family. Instead they are beautiful, human stories. Stories of Weetzie struggling to find happiness through making her family happy. Stories of Dirk and Duck's struggles with growing up being gay and feeling like they didn't belong, Stories of Witch Baby trying to find who she truly belongs to...never quite feeling like she fits in. Through this very ABnormal family, Block shows how normal the feelings that we all experience least she did that for me. And she did it so very beautifully. So beautifully that I want to read so much more of her work.

"Our stories can set us free, Dirk though. When we set them free"

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