Robyn's Reviews > I Was a Teenage Fairy

I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block
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's review
Mar 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, faeries

As a pretty staunch FLB fan, I can say honestly that, while the Weetzie Bat books deserve all the love they get, I think this book is really the author at the height of her form.

Her trademark writing isn't quite as stylized as it is in some other books, but this suffers for it not at all. The real gold comes in the way all of the trademark elements of the author's style are balanced. There is surrealism, and pain, and poetry, and love, and courage and fright, but not any one of them in too great a quanitity.

The strangeness of many of the situations, and people is enough to keep an air of fantasy, without diving in completely. The book leaves you off balance a bit, never being too clear on what is literal and what is symbolic, and even encourages you from the first few pages to question Barbie's sanity. The pain, and destruction and fear is deep enough to be heartrending without ever becoming dulling or graphic. There is love and courage and goodness, but not enough to become totally saccharine.

The best part of reading FLB, though, is reading between the lines. While the prose is ornate, it's also strangely sparse, and depth is implied and hinted at beneath the words. You have to read carefully, and dig to find the meat, but it's there. Sometimes, when describing trauma, the prose reminds me of a child trying to talk about something that they're far too young to know about, you always have the feeling that the characters are blindsided with a completely new emotion, which is part of what I think makes it so heartbreaking, haunting, lovely.

This is a confirmed must read for fans of the author, even though it's one of her more overlooked books, but if you haven't read anything by this author, I think it's a pretty good place to start.

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