Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block

   Pink Smog tells the story of Louise Bat, better known today as Weetzie Bat, who is one of my favorite literary characters of all time.  But when she was 13, Louise hadn't fully blossomed into Weetzie yet.  In school, she is picked on and bullied (as are her very few friends), and at home, her father has moved away unexpectedly and her mother is usually passed out drunk in front of the TV.  But when she meets Winter, everything begins to change.  Weetzie sometimes cannot decide if Winter is real, or if he is her guardian angel.  He is mysterious, elusive, and always seems to be around when she's in trouble.  But things get even more strange when Weetzie begins to receive mysterious envelopes with cryptic poems inside - poems that seem to be leading her on a scavenger hunt to some of the most magical and exciting places in L.A.  Through these strange journeys and the ongoing search for her father, Weetzie embarks on a journey of self-discovery that eventually leads her into the world of Dangerous Angels.

   Even though this novel has been marketed as a stand-alone prequel to the other Weetzie Bat books, I would still recommend reading Weetzie Bat first.  Weetzie is magical, whimsical, and glamorous, and after all, where you end up is much more important than where you begin, right?  When I started reading this novel, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it.  I have such strong emotional ties to Weetzie Bat, and Louise didn't really feel like the Weetzie I know, and L.A. didn't seem as magical as Weetzie's L.A.  But that's because Louise hadn't yet experienced all the things that would make her Weetzie.  By the end of the novel, it felt like a much more natural segue into the rest of the series.

   However, I do wish that Francesca Lia Block had stuck to the third person narrative of Weetzie Bat rather than the first person voice of Pink Smog.  The third person voice somehow made her seem more infinite and less vulnerable as a literary character.  But it does make more sense from a character-development standpoint...if Weetzie seems more vulnerable and less-developed than she does in Weetzie Bat it's because she is.  She doesn't yet have Dirk and Duck and Cherokee and Witch Baby, but Pink Smog puts her on the right track.

Overall Rating: