Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block is a go-to book for me. Recommended to me by a former friend, I read the first chapter in the bookstore and didn’t buy it. Ha! Thought I fell in love with it at first sight, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t.
Block hits the ground running in the first chapter, introducing three characters, a dog, a car, a rubber chicken, all while describing fashion, food, and more. The staccato force of the first chapter is a whirlwind of lyrical prose and I, frankly, didn’t get it.
But for some reason I came back and bought this tiny book. It’s really more a novella, so short one can read it in an hour or so. And by page 48 everyone is living happily ever after only you know, if a book has 113 happily ever after is going to fall apart. In what I am estimating is about 20,000 words, Block carries her readers through divorce, existentialism, loss, love, sexual identity, and even addresses the issue of AIDS.
As I said, she hits the ground running and never slows down. Although she’s published many other novels since Weetzie Bat, this is the book that initially made me fall in love with Block and keeps me from giving up on her even when I am less than thrilled with a more recent publication. I know her writing is magic. And when I need a quick fix, this is the book to which I return time and time again.
What I don’t understand is why some indie film person hasn’t snatched it up and created a small but lovely movie that would assuredly become a cult classic among artistic young people? After 20 years, one would think this would have been a done deal ages ago. Then again, I don’t understand why someone hasn’t turned her Ecstasia and Primavera into graphic novels.