AK's Reviews > Weetzie Bat

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
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Aug 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: read-2011, young-adult
Read from August 10 to 12, 2011

Los Angeles! Is where this cute little fable takes place. An extra-kitsch fantasy LA where everyone looks like 1950s movie stars, drives 1950s Chevrolets, and lives in adorable pink cottages in the hills. Weetzie Bat is a young lass who wears vintage prom dresses to high school and is a weirdo. She meets some boys and has some adventures with them, and by adventures, I mean babies. Sassy Magazine told everyone to read it in the early 90s (every single one of my goodreads reviews is actually about the early 90s), but I failed to do so, though I assiduously followed that magazine's cultural advice. I probably would not have liked this book when I was 13. The childlike, treacly style of the writing and sun-drenched LA setting might have been to cutesy-poo for my goth adolescent soul, even though there is quote/unquote Mature Content just underneath the sugarcoated surface. Doin' it! Homosexuals humpin' and lovin' other homosexuals! Drugs! AIDS! Losing the ones you love! etc.

Reading it this summer, after having spent a couple of days feeling like an alien in Southern California, Weetzie Bat struck me as some kind of commentary on the eternal desire for and ultimate impossibility of LA and New York every really understanding each other. Weetzie's dad is a New York film dude who meets, marries, and makes a baby with an LA starlet, but their relationship falls apart, and Mama and Papa Bat hole up in their respective cities to embody every possible coastal stereotype. Everyone in LA is involved with movies and everyone in New York eats bagels all the time. They are intrigued by each other but ultimately cannot coexist, because LA is too sunny for New York people, and New York is too gritty and grey for LA people. I suppose this book is about other stuff, too, like how everyone should be able to make families with the people they love, even/especially if that family is you, your gay best friend and his lover, the baby they impregnate you with, your boyfriend, the baby your boyfriend spawned with a witch, and a dog named Pee Wee.

This book was a fun way to spend 45 minutes but I am not sure I will bother to seek out subsequent books from this series, although I will certainly read them if they are in a waiting room somewhere.

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