mardi 7 août 2012

Dangerous Angels

Weetzie Bat and its author, Francesca Lia Block, had been at the peripheries of my consciousness for ages.  But not in any meaningful way.

I think the Weetzie Bat books are a big deal in the US but not so much here – not many people who I have mentioned them to in this country have ever heard of them.  However, there was a recent run on Weetzie Bat themed fun in my favourite online magazine, Rookie.  This was enough to make me finally investigate, so I thought I’d go the whole hog and buy all of the Dangerous Angels books.

At first, I’ll admit, I was unimpressed.  Like, ‘Really?  Seriously?  Is this it?  You’ve got to be kidding me!’ unimpressed.

It was like the kind of stuff I wrote when I was 15 and first got into magic realism, affected little stories about me and my friends, under thinly-veiled and very silly pseudonyms, giving weird importance to mystical tattoos and leather jackets and feather earrings, with a huge dose of wish-fulfilment behind the inclusion of magical happenings and wishes granted and hipster fairy godmothers.  And this was written by a grown woman who was supposed to be a ‘proper’ author as opposed to dreamy GCSE teenager.  Jeezus Louise-us.

Then, about halfway through the first Weetzie Bat book, something happened.  I started to get really into it.  I was sucked in and taken back in time and none of the rest of that stuff mattered.

Yes, the girl is still really called Weetzie Bat.  The story involves her being granted magical wishes, given a free pink house and wishing for ‘a Duck for Dirk!’.  Yes, she meets the true love of her life and he is called My Secret Agent Lover Man.  Weetzie and Dirk and Duck and My Secret Agent Lover Man live in Shangri-LA, and they are covered with feathers and glitter and miracles happen (but then they also eat tacos and go to punk gigs and call everything ‘slinkster cool’) and it’s kinda supernatural but all a bit cutesy.

It sounds worse on paper than it actually turns out to be.

I devoured the lot, the entire series, and found myself looking forward to reading more every day.  The story continued, to involve Witch Baby and Cherokee and Raphael and Angel Juan and The Jayne Mansfield Fan Club and I totally drank the Kool-Aid.

In fact, now I only feel sad that I didn’t read Weetzie Bat when I was actually 15.  Can you imagine how much I would have loved it?  In the end, I kind of love it now.  If I had read it back then, I think it might actually have changed my life.

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