Title: Weetzie Bat
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Published by: HarperTeen (2004)
First sentence: “The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because no one understood.”
Mark for trigger warnings: [mention of aids, minor character death, non graphic sex scenes with dubious consent]
1. It’s strange.
Weetzie Bat is one of the strangest stories I’ve ever read, and it just works. While the first sentence – “The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because nobody cared” – makes you assume it’s a regular story about a ~regular~ girl in school who hates everyone because she’s so ~different~, Francesca Lia Block is fast to introduce genies and witches in a writing style that leaves no question about how that’s exactly how it should be.
2. It was way ahead of its time.
When Block published Weetzie Bat in 1989, there were close to no narratives about people who were gay, and, even less, about HIV related issues. You can argue that that’s still the case today, but back then, it must have been a goddamn gem, and that’s just awesome.
3. You want to be Weetzie.
While her life isn’t perfect (which wouldn’t make for a very good story but let’s be real, I’d still read it), I really want to live Weetzie’s life. She has the best friends and family in the whole wild world, she lives in a beautiful little home with lots of glitter and kitschy decorations, she has the weirdest coolest hair, drives a cool car, stars in movies, has lots of dogs and overall has the kind of confidence and fashion sense we all want and deserve.
4. It’s a love-letter to LA.
Here’s the thing: I’ve never gotten the hype about most American cities, Los Angeles included. But even if you don’t love the city as much Francesca Lia Block, which is basically impossible anyway, there’s something beautiful about characters who are absolutely in love with their homes. And, to be honest, I kind of want to visit LA just because of this book. Once I’m rich and famous, maybe.
5. It deals with grief.
I won’t go into this as to avoid spoilers. The story tells many years of Weetzie’s life, so of course there are parts of this book that deal with grief, and while they’re not ‘Marley and Me’ – level sad, they still are. And in my opinion, Block does a great job in portraying how people deal with it.
6. It’s so prettyyyyyy!
It’s hard to put this into words, but the book is just SO. BEAUTIFUL. And I don’t mean the cover (which is great, too), but the overall story. All the characters and all the places and scenes and feelings are described so beautifully and aesthetically pleasing that I wish I could frame all of it and hang it up in my room. One of my favourites, describing Weetzie early in the book:
Under the pink Harlequin sunglasses, strawberry lipstick, earrings dangling charms, and sugar-frosted eyeshadow, she was really almost beautiful.
7. There is going to be a movie.
And you can be the person who has read the book before the movie! Sadly, though, I think there’s a problem with the funding or something so I don’t know when it’s actually going to happen. There’s this great pinterest board that the author created for everyone to pin their Weetzie-related ideas, though. I still have hopes that the project will be picked up again soon, but I’m willing to wait as long as it needs for the movie to be the best it can be.
8. It’s short.
If nothing else can convince you, there’s always this: It’s a very short book and it’s perfect that way. The first time I read it, I sat down intending to read the first page and stood up maybe 2 hours later with a stiff neck and a happy heart, having read the entire thing. While I didn’t understand a lot of the nuances of it – I was 15 and didn’t understand the part dealing with HIV -, it instantly became one of my favourite books, and stayed that way.
What’s your thoughts on Weetzie Bat? Have you read the book, or maybe even the sequels and prequels? If yes, please tell me how you like them (without spoilers lol). Do you want to read the book now? Do you know anything about the movie? Any reading recommendations? Let’s chat!