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Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie Bat Hardcover – January 24, 2012
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“Newcomers and longtime fans alike will find much to savor in this nuanced meditation on what is lost, and what is gained, in the process of becoming an artist.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Pink Smog sparkles and obscures; it’s a glorious mirage, like the city it pays homage to.” (Maggie Stiefvater, #1 New York Times bestselling author, for the New York Times Book Review)
“This canny introduction to Weetzie is the perfect prep.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Teens... will relate to the heroine’s universal feelings of being on the fringe. Louise’s uplifting example proves that only from the outside can one forge her own true path.” (Shelf Awareness)
CRITICAL ACCLAIM for WEETZIE BAT and the DANGEROUS ANGELS collection:“Transcendent.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Shimmering.” (New York Post)
“Magnificent.” (Village Voice)
“Sparkling.” (Publishers Weekly)
“One of the most original books of the last ten years.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
From the Back Cover
The girl in the mirror wasn’t who I wanted to be, and her life wasn’t the one I wanted to have.
Despite how much Louise insists, no one will call her Weetzie. It’s her dad’s nickname for her, but it won’t stay put. Neither will her dad. Charlie left Louise and her mom and he took everything with him: her family, her home—and her understanding of who she’s meant to be.
But Los Angeles is a city full of strange angels, and Louise embarks on a journey to sift through the smog of her heartbreak, to grow her own wings, to become Weetzie.
Top Customer Reviews
This story, unlike the later novels, is told in the first person. Louise is an unhappy 13-year-old outcast with no friends. As the novel begins, her parents have just separated. Louise adores her father Charlie, but he's finally left L.A. for his own dream city, New York. Louise's mother is a mess, devastated by the separation, neglecting herself and Louise, and drinking herself into self-indulgent oblivion.
At school, the teachers have rather jarring "tag" names like Miss Spinner and Mr. Adolph, and besides being picked on by mean girls, Louise is humiliated by Miss Spinner in front of the class for "overwriting" in the dramatic, poetic style that will later make Francesca Lia Block so beloved. So far it's just a litany of middle school suffering.
A few strange things happen - not the least of which is Louise's new friendships with two fellow outcasts - but when Louise spontaneously breaks into the apartment of a suspicious neighbor, the tone shifts. Following the revelations from that gateway journey, the mythological characters multiply and coincidences flourish. While Louise still suffers the loss of the beloved father who expects her to stay and take care of her mother (which HE wouldn't do), Louise begins to develop and claim the Weetzie identity that will be her salvation.
Even in the first person, she frequently questions whether the fantastic incidents and archetypal people are real, or imaginary.Read more ›
PINK SMOG is Francesca Lia Block's prequel to her groundbreaking book, WEETZIE BAT. Published over 20 years ago, WEETZIE BAT changed the profile of young adult literature to include books that blended myth and fairy tale with contemporary pop culture and grim teen realities. Instead of treating teen problems as transgressions to be punished, Block's books have always offered a glimmer of hope for even the most troubled characters. Her novels don't just tolerate differences, but offer radical acceptance to people in all walks of life and focus on the healing power of love.
Weetzie at 13 is just beginning to show the glimmers of the iconic character she will become. Finding her signature style, she clumsily follows school trends until she starts making clothes of her own. Her hair is "mousette" instead of bleached blond. Her ability to transform the sights and sounds of everyday Los Angeles into "Shangri-L.A." has only just begun to develop. PINK SMOG is a portrait of Weetzie in her formative years and the events that would later shape the story for which she is known.
Fans of WEETZIE BAT will recognize elements of later books here.Read more ›
But don't expect quite the same things from Weetzie Bat and Co. -- "Pink Smog" is a prequel, not a sequel. This slender novel tells the story of how an awkward teenage girl became the hipster Weetzie Bat, and the painful road that leads to one's own identity. The problem is that it spends too much time meandering in place rather than sending Weetzie forward.
Louise Bat doesn't want to be called "Louise"; she wants to be called Weetzie. She also wants a life completely different from her own -- her body is at the ugly-duckling stage, her school is full of bullies and mean girls, her mother is a reclusive alcoholic, and her dad has left them. And before long, Weetzie realizes that her father -- and her life -- have never been as wonderful as she thought.
At school, she makes friends with anorexic Lily and gay Bobby. Away from home, she follows a series of nursery-rhyme riddles. And at home, she simultaneously falls in love with the beautiful, mysterious boy named Winter (who may be an angel), and finds that he's under the malign influence of his insane sister Annabelle. The only way to break free of her old life is to find who she truly is...
As always, Francesca Lia Block's prose in "Pink Smog" is simply sublime, filled with hauntingly sensual descriptions ("It looked as though mermaids cut silver paths beneath the surface. There was a fat, mottled moon in the sky") and lots of glittering, colorful descriptions of Los Angeles. And she imbues Weetzie's coming-of-age with a painful awareness -- bullying, divorce, first love and first loss of that love.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a beautiful and tragic beginning to one of my all time favorite characters! I'm only sorry I had to wait 20 years to read about how Louise Bat became Weetzie.Published 13 months ago by A. LABELLA
I've always loved Francesca Lia Block's book. This is a wonderful read.Published 16 months ago by Samantha
Let me preface this review by saying that a long time ago I read one of Francesca Lia Block's books and loved it but at the same time, I had no idea who Weetzie Bat was when I... Read morePublished 22 months ago by YA Book Madness Blog
I love Francesca Lia Block. She is my favorite author and I am glad to add this book to my collection of her work. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Brandy Nobles
The magical Ms. Block revisits her famous character Weetzie Bat, but shows us who she was before the magic: Back in time we go, to when Weetzie was Louise, a mousy... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Swank Ivy