Jaemi's Reviews > The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block
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Jan 11, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: ya-fiction, favorite-authors, favorites
Read in December, 2007 , read count: 3

I've been an avid Block fan since a friend had me read Violet & Claire in 2001, after which I went out and bought all the books on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. Hanged Man has always been one of my favorites. It's always struck me as odd, as it's one of the touchier subjects, centering around molestation and repressed memories, but I suppose I felt I could identify, and her writing is just incredible.

As per usual with FLB books, her style is unique. Reality meats fantasy, poetry meets prose.

Laurel's father has died, and she and her mother spend their days floating around one another, like ships anchored just out of reach, or at sea always passing but never meeting. The AIDS scare has begun, and Laurel worries for her friends and their wild lifestyles. Though constantly urged otherwise, she doesn't eat. A man has been going around the valley breaking into women's rooms, and Laurel can't sleep, though her room is in a tower.

Phantasmic Jack haunts her dreams, appears at random at parties, on the streets. It's he who eventually helps her to break free of her internal bars, to let go of everything held inside. Only after this point can she and her mother then confront what's been between them for so long.

Laurel's emotional journey will likely resonate with many, even if they can't relate to her specific circumstances. The language alone makes it worth the read. I have a handful of favorite authors, but I've still yet to find anyone who can out-style Francesca Lia Block.
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