Title: Weetzie Bat
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 1989
Price: $7.99 (paperback)
Genre: Magical Realism
Interest Age: 14 and up
Reading Level: 6.29
Annotation: Follow the lives of Weetzie Bat and her friends as they explore Los Angeles and find love.
Plot Summary: When Weetzie Bat and Dirk meet in high school and they hit it right off. They explore and gallivant around LA together with a friendship that never falters when Dirk comes out as gay. Having trouble on their search for true love and their perfect men, they are presented a magic lamp which grants 3 wishes – a “duck” for Dirk, a My Secret Agent Lover man, and a house for them all to live in. With love found, Weetzie Bat, Dirk and their partners are content for awhile until Weetzie Bat decides she wants a baby. My Secret Agent Love man does not want one and he leaves for a while. During that time, Weetzie Bat ends up pregnant by Dirk or Duck. When My Secret Agent Lover Man returns, he reveals his reasons and all four live together as a unique, magical family.
Critical Evaluation: For a slim book, Francesca Lia Block crafts a beautiful magical love letter to Los Angeles. The writing is descriptive and evocative, crafting detailed characterizations and magical stories. In a short chapter, Weetzie Bat is described as a girl who loves the memories of Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin, wears Harlequin glasses and ’50s taffeta dresses, and sews fringes in the side of her minis. Block uses the evocative writing and magical realism to tackle issues of blended families, premarital sex, homosexuality, and AIDS. This creates a dreamy landscape where true love is possible for everyone and attainable. Additionally, the casual acceptance of Dirk’s homosexuality and the happy ending for Dirk’s character was a new concept when the book came out. Most gay characters did not have joyful endings or positive futures. In this book, they do.
Author Bio: Francesca Lia Block is renowned for her groundbreaking literary works, including the best-selling Weetzie Bat. Her writing transports readers through the harsh landscapes of contemporary life to realms of the senses where love is a saving grace. She lives in Los Angeles. She has received numerous honors, including the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and the Phoenix Award, as well as citations from the American Library Association, The New York Times Book Review, and School Library Journal. (via Ingram)
Tie to Curriculum Units: LGBTQ Literature
Booktalking Ideas: Magical realism, Los Angeles, manic pixie dream girl
Challenge Issues: Weetzie Bat is a book also on the challenged lists because of a few factors including Dirk’s sexuality. Besides this off-beat, quirky story, the story is importance because Weetzie Bat is one of the first YA books that have positive endings for its queer characters. It is a vital resource for queer and HIV positive teens. The book was also recognized and awarded the 2009 Phoenix Award.