Is it silly to say that I just want to hug this book and carry it with me always? Well, in a sense, I will...for these books have settled down inside of me. I believe they may be the most life-affirming books I've ever read.
(Dangerous Angels is actually a collection of five short books: Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be-Bop. Each of them could easily be read as a stand-alone...but seriously, you don't want to do that. Because each book adds so much to the richness of the others.)
When I said above that these books are life-affirming, I hope I didn't sound misleading. I don't say that to mean that these books are simply full of sunlight and butterflies and unconditional love. They are full of these things, but they are also full of sadness and loneliness and confusion. There is joy and there is heartache. There is acceptance and intolerance. There is life...in all its glorious and painful realities.
This collection of stories centers around this group of people who have come together as a family. Some share the same DNA, most don't. What they all do share is love for one another. They have names like Weetzie and Witch Baby and My Secret Agent Lover Man and Duck...and as odd as it sounds, it never seems odd. Francesca Lia Block has this way of making the "strange" seem not just normal, but perfectly perfect.
The Rose & the Beast is the only other book I've read by Block. I loved it as well, but in many ways, it has a very different feel. That collection of retold fairy tales was a bit more haunting and gritty. But her magic with words is apparent in both. I know not everyone agrees, but I find her writing utterly enchanting. I hesitate to use the word quirky, because I sometimes, perhaps unfairly, view "quirky" as forced. As trying too hard to be different. But there is nothing of that feel to Block's writing. Her uniqueness feels so genuine, as if she is just pouring herself onto the pages. (I can imagine no one else on earth who could make me feel the urge to go around calling things "slinkster-cool.")
But back to the stories. I think she says it best herself in Baby Be-Bop:
Stories are like genies, Dirk thought. They can carry us into and through our sorrows. Sometimes they burn, sometimes they dance, sometimes they weep, sometimes they sing. Like genies, everyone has one. Like genies, sometimes we forget that we do.Oh my, but what are the stories about. Everything. Coming of age, coming out, holding on too tight, and learning to let go, making mistakes, and learning from them, birth, and death, and listening to your own voice. You know, I have like fifty little slips of paper stuck in the pages of this book...so many beautiful passages and things I wanted to mention. But bottom line, I just can't think of any way to put all these swirling thoughts into a coherent form.
Our stories can set us free, Dirk thought. When we set them free.
So I will just say "Dangerous Angels is a celebration of life" and leave it at that.
Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot
Becky at Becky's Book Reviews
RaiderGirl3 at An Adventure in Reading (Weetzie Bat)
Valentina at Valentina's Room (Weetzie Bat)
Valentina at Valentina's Room (Witch Baby)
Valentina at Valentina's Room (Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys)
I'm sure I've missed some reviews. I apologize. But please feel free to leave a link in the comments, and I will be happy to add it. Thanks.
I guess I'm out of hiding. Shouldn't be...that damn to-do list is nowhere near tamed yet. But I couldn't help it...how could I resist the premier of Ana's vlog?!!! I couldn't, and I'm glad I didn't! Ana, you are sooooo AWESOME!!!!
Anyway, I'll probably still be a bit scarce over this coming week, but I've been missing you all so much that it will be good to see what you're all up to.
Happy week before the read-a-thon to everyone!