Kirsten's Reviews > Pretty Dead

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block
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's review
Apr 17, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, from-library, children-or-ya, horror-and-horror-ish, spec-fic
Read from April 13 to 17, 2010

This book was a confusing muddle, and like much of Block's other recent work, it feels unfinished. Block seems to have gotten really lazy about using characters' clothes and their brand names as shortcut characterization. She's always used clothing in an almost fetishistic way (or in an out-and-out magical way, as in "Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys"), but the way she used brand name clothing in this novel just felt lazy.

There are portions of the novel that I really enjoyed; I liked the vignettes describing how Char and William were present for some of the greatest disasters in recent history, and the feeling that doom followed them. But most of the novel just didn't make that much sense.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Therese I felt the same way about this book. But I don’t know if it’s because I’ve outgrown FLB, or because her more recent books are a lot weaker than the earlier ones. The characters definitely seem a lot more conformist and mainstream now. I miss the riot grrrls, DIY culture, and punkiness of Dangerous Angels etc.

Thanks for adding me, by the way! I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me, but I was on witchbaby, LJ etc.

Kirsten Yup, I remembered you!

I think in some ways it's a combination of both: that I've outgrown her some, and also that the books are weaker. Her two adult books (one a sort of experimental novel, one a poetry collection) that Manic D Press recently published have a lot of the same problems that I've noticed in her recent YA novels, though, so I don't think it's entirely that I've outgrown the themes in her work. It feels almost like she's become jaded in regard to her own style, like she's gotten tired of it, too, but feels the need to keep writing "FLB books." I feel like her books are less energetic than they used to be; even Necklace of Kisses, which I rather liked, was lacking the frenetic joy of Dangerous Angels.

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