by Alexandrina Jordan
From the blog Asphalt and Glitter
I am calling this the first Weetzie Bat post, because knowing myself, I am fairly positive there will be many posts about Weetzie Bat. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lis Block is hands down my favorite novel. Weetzie’s cultural impact has been recognized widely recently; she was name dropped in the last season of Girls, and the staff at Rookie Mag created a “Hanging Out with Weetzie Bat” playlist earlier this year. After being translated into seven different languages and ruling the young adult genre for 25 years it is finally being turned into a movie directed by Elgin James.
Weetzie Bat is, without a doubt, the novel that had the most personal impact on me. I first readViolet and Claire by Francesca Lia Block in middle school and I was absolutely floored by Block’s way with words; her writing is visceral. It was the first book that made me feel like I could be a character in it; it was set in Los Angeles, the titular characters were both outcasts in their way, and it was one of the first books I ever ready that frankly talked about sex and was still sexy. I bought Weetzie Bat on a whim a few years later, just because it was the same writer. Weetzie changed EVERYTHING.
Weetzie Bat is a 16 year old girl who throughout the course of the novel grows into a young woman in 1980’s Los Angeles, all while living for punk rock, making and naming her own ridiculous outfits, loving everyone she meets, and believing so blindly in love that when darkness enters her life it envelopes her. To say Weetzie taught me everything I know would be a gross exaggeration, but to deny her as a driving force and influence in my life would be the biggest and most blatant lie I could tell. When people say they want to understand me better, I buy them a copy of Weetzie Bat. When my former best friend couldn’t find Weetzie at her library, she read one of the sequels Necklace of Kisses instead; she called me half way through “This Weetzie chick reminds me of you, if you were in your forties”, I smiled ruefully and told her to keep reading.
I re-read Weetzie Bat about once a year, more often if I’m feeling really lost. In under 100 pages, the modern fairy-tale tackles friendship, family, homosexuality, gay marriage, common law marriage, blended families, AIDS, rape, drug abuse, death, interracial relationships, premarital sex, and most of all love. Weetzie taught me so many things, like being fearless in the face of adversity, believing that magic can be around any corner, and sometimes a breakfast burrito is the answer to your problems. After a quick re-read yesterday morning, I want to throw out my favorite lessons from Ms. Bat; from my first read through to today. (Thar be spoilers ahead!)
-It’s okay to hate high school.
The first sentence in the book is “The reason Weetzie hated high school was because no one understood”. I fucking hated high school. I hated it. I think back on it and I still hate it. I felt like no one got it. That no one got me. For a while, I was convinced I was the problem. Then entered Ms. Weetzie to tell me that sometimes people don’t get you, and they don’t get what you’re into, and because that they can be cruel. And it’s o-fucking-kay to dislike high school because of that.
-Do weird shit because it makes you smile.
Weetzie and her best friend Dirk keep a rubber chicken in their car and hang it out the window when they drive down Sunset just because it makes them laugh. Best part of this lesson? A friend actually bought me a mini rubber chicken after I bought my first car. Read Rest if Article Here