Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block

I love it when a book comes along that feels like it was written for you. When you can read it at a certain point in your life and relate specific events in your life to what you’re reading at the time. What makes those books even better is when you realize that those books have been applicable throughout your whole life. That this author doesn’t just get what you’re going through right now, he/she gets you fundamentally as a person. He/She gets how humanity works…they get relationships, interactions, emotions…they just get it right. That’s what Francesca Lia Block has done for me with Dangerous Angels…also known as “The Weetzie Bat Books.” And I’m guessing that there are scores of people out there who feel the same way as me on this one.

I don’t know what I was expecting going into The Weetzie Bat books, but it certainly wasn’t this! You know what I was expecting? I was expecting a sort of juvenille tale with “life lessons” I think and elementary language…cutesy stuff. “Weetzie Bat”…it’s cute…that’s what I thought. And there’s a lot here that certainly is cute. The names of the characters for one, but they’re cute in a heartwarming, brings tears to your eyes sort of way. What I got instead was quite a powerful series of books that dealt with issues of abandonment, gender, search for meaning, sexual orientation, music, spirituality, love, loss, death, belonging and oh so much more.

This is actually a collection of five short novellas. The whole collection is 478 pages. I’m not going to go into each story, but it’s basically the story of a young girl named Weetzie and her friend Dirk and the unique family that they form together. Weetzie and her boyfriend, My Secret Agent Lover Man, raise two children together with Dirk and his boyfriend, Duck. The children are Cherokee, the birthchild of a night spent between Weetzie, Dirk and Duck and Witch Baby, the child of My Secret Agent Lover Man and a witch. As you can imagine, there are lots of tales to tell from this unique family. But they are not the strange, bizarre tales that you would think from my description of the family.

Instead they are beautiful, human stories. Stories of Weetzie struggling to find happiness through making her family happy. Stories of Dirk and Duck’s struggles with growing up being gay and feeling like they didn’t belong, Stories of Witch Baby trying to find who she truly belongs to…never quite feeling like she fits in. Through this very ABnormal family, Block shows how normal the feelings that we all experience are….at least she did that for me. And she did it so very beautifully. So beautifully that I want to read so much more of her work.

“Our stories can set us free, Dirk though. When we set them free”

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21 Responses

  1. I love it so much when a book just hits you just right and the author just seems to get it, get you, get everything. They usually lead to my worst incoherent reviews because I can’t think of objective reasons to recommend the book just “Um, yeah, I think this book was probably written just for me, but hey, you should probably try it and see if it might be written for you, too.” You did a good job of it, though, so I’ll be on the lookout for this one! 🙂

  2. I’m thinking I’ve heard about this one before from somewhere. I was intrigued then. I’m convinced now. *on to the wishlist it goes!* 🙂

  3. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… i don’t think the book has been written that you don’t like!! …and life’s lessons go on forever.
    glad you enjoyed this book Chris.

  4. Her writing style is really strange isn’t it? It takes a bit to get used to, but it’s definitely not cutesy! I liked this collection, with the exception of Missing Angel Juan (which was just too over my head I think). I especially loved Baby BeBop and I’m glad I read it first!

  5. Sounds great. Although I have to say I really don’t like that cover. The titles sound fascinating though.

  6. I *really* need to read this.

  7. Firstly, I have never even heard of this. But secondly, how incredible is that cover? And finally, lastly, your review is making me add it to my want to read que.

    Conjunction junction…what’s your function… *sigh* Sorry, I’m a wee bit weird today. 😛

  8. Megan, You always do a PERFECT job at writing your book reviews! Trust me, you have nothing to worry about!! I think you’d really like this one 🙂

    Darren, I just saw on your post that you bought this one!!! Hooray 😀

    Deslily, Oh they have been written but they’re very few and far between, lol.

    Amanda, I actually REALLY liked Missing Angel Juan! It reminded me a lot of A Fine and Private Place by Peter Beagle…have you read that?

    Fence, I’m on the fence (no pun intended :p) about the cover…part of me likes it and part of me is meh about it….the book itself is AMAZING though!!!

    Lu, You truly do..you would LOVE it!

    Christina, OMG Christina!!!! You NEED to read this! You would totally love this! And I’m in a weird mood today too…we should just enjoy it :p

  9. YESSSS! I’m so glad you liked this one. I read the first two, and I’ll finish up the other three this year. Block really tackles some *heavy* stuff in these books, but they’re so achingly good. I love all of her stuff, but these are the most human—classic!

  10. Very cool that this book was such a perfect fit for you. I’ve read one of the Weetzie Bat books and it just did nothing for me. It was weird but maybe too out-of-context? I think it was about the 4th in the series. I just didn’t “get” the book.

  11. I am looking forward to reading this at some point. I had to ILL it, but it is showing up on my list so shouldn’t be too long!

  12. Ooh, the Weetzie Bat books are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! You must read NECKLACE OF KISSES good and soon. It’s such a perfect continuation of Weetzie’s story.

  13. This is the first time I have heard anything about this book. It looks fantastic!

  14. so glad you love this! one of my favourite series, wish there were more. Oh wait, I still have baby Be bop to read 😛

  15. *hugs hugs hugs* I’m soooooooo happy you loved these as much as I’d hoped you would!!!! They really almost defy words, don’t they? But I honestly think they are among the most special books I’ve ever read. They just say so much about what it is to be human.

  16. Yay! I LOVED these in high school: came across them completely randomly in the library one day. 🙂

  17. Well, yes. That’s because you’re a baaaaaad blogger! 😉

  18. Oh, I have to read this one! you are so right, I’ve heard so much about this book and the author, but haven’t read much by her yet. This book is already added to my to-buy list. Thank you for a great review, Chris!

    As to what you say about when you read a book that you feel is written for you, or is about you and your life, somehow, magically, miraculously – that’s how it feels, isn’t it? that somehow the author sees you and writes about you, too. At least that’s how I’ve felt when I’ve come across these books. Excellent and thoughtful point, Chris. Remember when that meme was going around a few years ago, where we would pick books we thought would suit or be like certain bloggers? I’ll have to remember you picked this one for yourself 🙂

  19. I loved the Weetzie Bat books from the very first sentence. Aren’t they just magical? So quirky and dark and lovely and amazing.

  20. Funnily enough I bought a copy of this in New Orleans after our first night out. I’m putting this higher up my tbr list now after reading your review. I love when a book speaks to you like that. Is it wrong that my version is the comic strip character Nemi? Go look her up 🙂

  21. This is one of my absolute favorite books. I read it last year when I was really striving to become more accepting and peaceful and felt like this fit right into my life. I love the messages of love, acceptance, community, and self-discovery.

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