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The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  33 reviews
For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing

Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called "transcendent" by The New York Times, and her books have been included in "best of" lists compiled by Time ma
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Seal Press
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3.97  · 
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 ·  162 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Catfairy Books
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Catfairy's First Thoughts <3

When this came to me in the mail, I was so deliriously happy because this book could not have come at a better time! I fell completely in love with this book in every way because this is the exact time in my life where I am in need of this book. I just turned 34 this year and this is the year that I feel like I need to act no
This review is a bit biased, because Francesca Lia Block is one of my favorite authors, and I've been waiting for this book ever since I first heard it was in the works. With that said, "The Thorn Necklace" is a satisfying and inspiring memoir/writing guide. It's subtitled "Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process" and Francesca Lia Block shares the pain and beauty of her own life, and how it has been, and always is, released and healed through her writing. In revealing her personal stru ...more
Ellen Dreyer
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was thrilled to hear that this book was coming out, being a fan of FLB's early (Weetzie Bat) books, and a great fan of her teaching, too. She is one of the kindest, most positive and genuine writing teachers I've known.

The book is fascinating on many levels, especially the memoir of her youth, running around Berkeley with fellow punk friends. Her detailed descriptions of the clothes and shoes they wore (lots of designer name dropping), drunk late nights and early romances, reminded me what I
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating joy to read. This first time through it, I allowed myself to binge on the engaging language; I’m pretty much unable to approach any new FLB book but this way. This one, however, I will be returning to for a number of reasons. In the midst of a beautiful, honest memoir, FLV weaves a really smart guide to writing and analyzing fiction—which doubles as a guide to analyzing your life through fiction and writing. Such a smart, smart book.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I think I'm not the target audience for this book. I'm reminded of when I changed my focus as a graduate student, because the fad was gothic literature. I didn't want to study gothic literature. All the helmets falling out of the sky, all the swooning, all the frothing emotions, all the extremity of everything---it wasn't for me. I get, of course, that there are people who really dig this type of thing. I'm not one of them.

Keep in mind that I don't have any other knowledge of this author other
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Like every west coast girl I know of a certain age, I rolled DEEP in FLB's punk Los Angeles fairy tales. Her books influenced my decision to move there.

I've grown out of her actual stories, which have plots so simple as to now seem trivial, but I could still read her descriptions of clothing and food all day. And that's when this book is best - the memoir parts. The writing coaching parts fell totally flat for me. The chapter where she gets rid of seemingly more than half of her belongings was
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Perseus Books and Da Capo Press. I fell in love with Francesca Lia Block’s Dangerous Angels books in college, and they’re still among my favorites. I seem to have more writers all the time whose books I’ll read no matter the subject, but Block has long been one of them. She’s such a beautiful, atmospheric writer with a head full of fairies and mythology. Trigger warnings: death, severe illness, cancer, eating disorders, anorexia.

May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been assigned an enormous amount of guidebooks in writing classes, but nothing has come close to Francesca Lia Block's "The Thorn Necklace." I love this book, not only because I'm a devotee-an eternal worshiper at her fictional house of magic and love-but because I'm constantly searching for established writers who don't belittle my experience, approach, style, etc. I despise Zinsser's "On Writing Well"; Strunk's "Elements of Style" is boring AF; every year I have to read Lamott's advice in ...more
Kristin Boldon
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, borrowed, writing
The parts of this book never quite added up to a whole for me. I've loved Block's writing since Weetzie Bat and some of the best parts of this were the magical writing about herself and LA. I love this author; she is lovely inside and out. It was painful to read about the cruelty others have casually inflicted regarding her looks, and still sadder to read how she's internalized that. The memoir part felt as if she still has some inner work to do on her relationship to herself and with her parent ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I love Francesca Lia Block, so it pains me that this book isn't everything I wanted it to be. As a memoir, it's fascinating, but it touches so little on her writing journey and what she would impart on other writers as far as craft. Disappointing, but it should have been billed as a pure memoir. It's great in that regard.
Sian Lile-Pastore
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! A mixture of how to write/be creative and memoir.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Offered a lot of good tips on what makes a great book. Block's life story was very interesting to read about and made it quite relatable when it comes to pain and writing.
J.L. Slipak
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist’s Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing

Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called “transcendent” by The New York Times, and her books have been included in “best of” lists compiled by Time magazine and NPR.

In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work
I am not a writer and have no ambition to be, I picked this up because FLB was formative when I was in junior high and high school. Her books made me feel less alone and her writing inspired me to find my voice and write, too (overwrought journal entries and bad teenage poetry, but writing nonetheless). During a particular bout of teenage depression, I copied all of my favorite "Rose and the Beast" quotes onto index cards and taped them to my closet door for daily re-reading, reassurance and a r ...more
Michelle Kidwell
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Thorn Necklace Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process
by Francesca Lia BlockPerseus Books, Da Capo Press
Seal Press
Biographies & Memoirs ,
Self-HelpPub Date 01 May 2018

I am reviewing a copy of The Thorn Necklace by Perseus Books, Da Cala Press and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review!If you are a fan of Bird by Bird or the Artist's way and looking to grow as a writer or author then Francesca Lia Block's The Thorn Necklace is a book you will want to add to your library.
Kimia Madani
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I first picked up a copy of 'Weetzie Bat' as a twelve-year-old, I fell head over heels for the lush and lyrical world of Francesca Lia Block's creation. It was a world full of dark angels and fairies and jacaranda blossoms so bright purple they looked poisonous. She wrote of a Los Angeles that was like a dark fairytale from my wildest imaginings, and immediately became one of my favorite authors of all time, someone who has inspired my own work as a writer in unparalleled ways. When I ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan of Francesca Lia Block who is looking for a writing guide, this book is for you.
If you have never heard of Francesca Lia Block, don't start with this book.
The Thorn Necklace is part autobiography, part writing class, part story examples (original and classic). You will feel a close connection to the author as it is written in her classic style, and there are also incredibly important lessons in here that are taught in high school and college level creative writing classes; it's
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Francesca Lia Block's The Thorn Necklace was similar Stephen King's On Writing in that it's mostly memoir with a bit of writing instruction thrown into the mix. Both Block and King have distinct styles, and their advice differs significantly. Block focuses on the building blocks of story-- crafting characters, creating settings, taking them on a journey through crisis and resolution. Block's twelve writing rules/elements are tagged onto the end of chapters about her development, wins, and strugg ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I had my answer, in writing. It didn't matter that I loved him, or even how much. I had to let him go."

I don't think I've ever encountered anything quite like this -- a writing guide mixed in with such heartbreakingly honest memoir -- but both ends of it were very moving and effective. They inspired me to write, and look back at some of my own struggles in life and relationships over the past several years. Also, Francesca is just a lovely person, and I'm proud to call her a friend and fellow m
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Francesca Lia Block, in a lot of ways, shaped my adolescence. I was on the hunt for a library copy of The Hanged Man as its one of the few I never bought and held onto, and just stumbled onto this — best timing ever. It’s not a 5 Star all time fave (yet, maybe rereads will change that), but it was so amazing to basically revisit an old friend, sharing advice and stories at a time when I really needed it, creatively and otherwise.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This is an interesting book if you're a fan of Francesca Lia Block. It reads like one of her novels, but it's a memoir about her life. Interspersed throughout are bits of instructions on writing. It's interesting, but I would have preferred either a straight memoir or a straight writing book. I love Block's style though, so I have to praise her.
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read all her books, and I've always been fascinated by her, so this was a guilty pleasure to read about her life and her writing process. Not only that, there is so much useful information for writings working on their own novel. I highly recommend this even if you've never read anything else by her.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Four stars? You bet: Francesca Lia Block, writing a memoir and a guide to writing? Pull your pain from inside and slap it, still struggling in your hands, onto the page. 12 Rules.
Block's Weetzie Bat novels were a big wet kiss under a scented tree: magical realism, great characters, and an author who loved her city. Francesca Lia Block is the Queen of LA writers.
Maureen O'Leary
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For any fan of Francesca Lia Block, this is a must read. It's like a long conversation with an extremely gorgeous, sparkling, brilliant friend who has been there for you through her books through your own best and worst times. I found the reading of this memoir to be unexpectedly moving. Wonderful, encouraging, and helpful work, especially for writers.
Stephen Mack
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A compelling book about writing, its place in our lives, and its role in helping us heal from trauma. I enjoyed the journey the author shares, but the myriad threads of thought were, at times, hard to follow. Nonetheless, a powerful story and profound encouragement to writers.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Humanizing the writer’s self doubt or insecurity
Softly Shaping the writer’s search for support positively
Decreeing the writer integral to massage the masses of malignancies (abolish alliteration next perhaps)
I want more
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps I am a bit biased, but everything that Francesca Lia Block writes is awesome
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some great chapters and some chapters that are too self-absorbed.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A writing craft book that is heavy in the memoir.
Raven DeLajour
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
💞 Review coming soon. 💞
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Francesca Lia Block is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry. She received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association and from the New York Times Book Review, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Week ...more
“If we don’t write our stories, how will we truly know who we are? How will we define the world? How will we touch the mysteries of life?” 1 likes
“I can arrange words on a page but I can't seem to organize books on a shelf. Over the years, My Secret has shelved thousands and thousands, held each one in his hands. He thinks they might have seeped into him, through his skin, as much as the books he's read. At night and on his days off we spend hours talking about writing. He reads three or four books at a time. When he's not working at the bookstore he goes to other bookstores around the city and browses until closing time. Holding more volumes in his hands, filling himself up with words.” 1 likes
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