Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weetzie Bat

Before I start the book, I also want to do a shout out to my fellow blogger, friend, compatriot, and partner in crime, Ali, who started a travel blog (travelogue? travelblogue?) called Travel Rambling. It's in my blog roll, and you should all check it out. Well, snark on, MacDuff!

This is the story of Weetzie Bat, a high school girl who's a little different. She meets Dirk, who turns out to be gay. The two of them go duck-hunting (searching for guys) together and get into all kinds of PG rated scrapes. Then one day, Dirk's grandmother (whom he lives with) tells Weetzie and Dirk that they have to love each other first before they can fall in love with someone else (then she rips off her face mask to reveal she's Whitney Houston). She gives Weetzie a lamp and a genie comes out and Weetzie asks for three wishes--a duck for Dirk, My Secret Agent Lover Man for Weetzie, and a house for everyone to live in. Then Grandma Fifi kicks the bucket and they move into her cottage. Dirk meets a guy called Duck with a hideous duck tail hairdo. Eventually, Weetzie meets a guy called MSALM, a movie director who puts Weetzie and all their friends in his movies. Two babies and some ethnic friends later, they're a real family. And there are many more Weetzie books to come.
  • Dirk's car is named Jerry because it reminds him of Jerry Lewis. Did it marry its thirteen year old cousin? (Okay, okay, I know, wrong Jerry Lewis.)
  • Grandma Fifi dies only a few chapters in, leaving her house to both kids, and her clothes to Weetzie. Okay, considering that later on, about a thousand random people move in, I'm bemused as to why they had to 86 Grandma Fifi. And there's no Twilight Zone/Monkey's Paw lesson to be learned about why we shouldn't make reckless wishes--Dirk channels Dr. Kevorkian as he talks about how happy Grandma Fifi would have been knowing she was able to do something good for the kids. Also, look at these dresses she left behind. (No, that's what Dirk actually says.)
  • Actually, I do know why Grandma Fifi had to go. Pretty much everyone who moves into Chateau Weetzie is young and bizarrely hot. I get the feeling that Francesca Lia Block wanted the vibe to be more Big Brother meets a Boy George video and less hipsters move to Boca Raton. (And yes, I'd rather read about the latter. I want old Jewish relatives to tell me jokes and call me bubbelah and tell me I'm not eating enough, and I'm tired of settling for Old Jews Telling Jokes!.)
  • Weetzie meets some diverse friends. There's Jamaican Valentine Jah-Love, and his wife, Ping Chong. Their multi ethnic kid is Raphael Chong Jah-Love. (And I call shitty parenting. No, not for the biracial thing, you neocons, for saddling their kid with a double hyphenated name. That will be such a bitch when he has to bubble in his name for the SATs.)
  • Valentine tells Weetzie about Jamaica: "'...your body feels radiant, like orange lights, like Bob Marley's voice...In Jamaica we climb the falls holding hands and the water rushes down bluer than your eyes. In Jamaica. In Jamaica it is hot and wet, and the people are hot and wet, and the flowers look like shells and the shells look like flowers...'" and I have to stop you, Valentine. No reason, I just have to stop you. Besides, I think Jamaica Tourist Board frowns on you working off the clock.
  • My Secret Agent Lover Man puts the kibosh down when it comes to baby-making. Because there's just too many babies out there already (cool! field trip to Malawi!). But no, there are also psychos and diseases and nuclear accidents. Okay, then. Weetzie's rebuttal. "'But we could have such a cool, beautiful baby...and we would love it so much.'" Why does this sound like every pet wanting kid EVER? Yeah, that totally didn't work when I was eight(een) and wanted my very own sugar glider (google them and tell me I'm wrong?). And then I got about four Furbies from well-meaning relatives, parents, and my rabbi, and they all of the Furbies ended up talking to each other late at night when I was trying to sleep and if you thought you wanted Gizmo from "Gremlins," you're wrong. Hell is other Furbies. Anyway.
  • Dirk gets a great idea. He thinks that he, Weetzie, and Duck can have a threesome and then Weetzie can get knocked up since MSALM won't oblige. Duck agrees: "'I saw it on that talk show once. These two gay guys and their best friend all slept together so no one would know whose baby it was...and when someone in the audience said, "What sexual preference do you hope [the child] has?" they all go together, they go, "Happiness." Isn't that cool?'" Yeah, but, Duck, you know how hippie free loving parents grow up to get Alex P. Keatons? By my calculations, those talk show people probably just spawned Ann Coulter. Good job. You, Dirk, and Weetzie want to go for Rush Limbaugh redux?
  • So the three of them make love. The Beatles are playing while they conceive Weetzie's baby. It's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." I guess that's better than losing your virginity to "Your Body is a Wonderland." Stupid top 40.
  • And they name the baby Cherokee. Cherokee. So you know she's just going to grow up to tell people that her grandmother was a Cherokee princess, and blah blah blah. Ugh. My Secret Agent Lover Man has left the building because Weetzie cheated on him with two gay guys, and it was either stay with her and do the talk show circuit or leave. (And let's face it, this was the eighties. He was under steep competition when you consider all the appearances G.G. Allin and the Club Kids were making.) But MSALM comes back for no real reason, telling her he was an idiot to go, and saying how beautiful baby Cherokee is.
  • But it turns out that My Secret Agent Lover Man, when he was away, was really catting it up with the head of a coven that obsesses over Jayne Mansfield and the fact that she was decapitated when she died in that car crash (beep, beep, urban legend alert). The woman shows up pregnant and wanting money for an abortion. Weetzie's pissy at first, and MSALM gets all, "We were on a break...and I thought of you every time I climaxed. Really." Then Vixanne Wig (Easy Bake Coven lady) dumps the kid (whom they call Witch Baby) with My Secret Agent Lover Man.
  • They call the baby Lily but she acts all wild and ends up going by Witch Baby. (Wild meaning she chops the heads off of Barbie dolls and chants "Beasts beasts beasts.") Yeah, well, I christened my puppy Jack Russell the Ripper but I knew better than to be surprised when dead whores turned up in my closet every month. (Surprisingly the same thing happened with my pet alpaca, Dolly Llama.)
  • Later, Weetzie's father, Charlie Bat, who lives in New York dies and Weetzie gets upset. Yeah, well, maybe he willed you a magical toaster oven, so it's all good. His ghost makes a cameo in a later book.
  • Now let's snark some of the movies MSALM makes. They make one called Shangri-L.A. because they think that L.A. is just like Shangri-La. It's about a girl who comes to L.A. to make it big and ends up going back in time to the olden days and meeting a guy who looks like Charlie Chaplin. They try to go to the present but he dies, and she ends up overdosing on drugs and waking up in Shangri-La. Or something. I have a feeling that what Francesca Lia Block isn't telling us is all about the non-artsy, money making movies that MSALM had to make to finance these, like In & Out (and In Again), Any Which Way But Lubed, and Pop on Pop.
  • At the end, there's a sad moment as Duck freaks out when one of his old boyfriends (Bam-Bam) is dying of AIDS. (Is he sure? Yup, he's HIV positive.) There's some depressing talk about how said it is that you can get HIV just by loving people.
And, scene. I'll do some more Francesca Lia Block books if anyone's interested. They're actually fairly decent and fun. And short! This book was part of a larger set that I bought when I was about thirteen, called Dangerous Angels.