Review: A genie of the lamp grants Weetzie Bat three wishes. The three wishes begin to come true as Weetzie meets her “Secret Agent Lover Man” (named just that), and her gay best friend Dirk meets “Duck.” They all live together in a house in Los Angeles that Dirk inherited from his grandmother. When Weetzie decides she wants to have a baby, Secret Agent Lover Man tells her that he has no interest in being a father because of what the world is like. Dirk and Duck want to be parents as well, but since they are both men, they cannot conceive together. Weetzie, Dirk, and Duck hatch a plan to conceive a child together. When this is achieved Secret Agent Lover Man feels betrayed and leaves. Is he gone forever? Will Weezie’s happy family ever be happy again? Can Secret Agent Lover Man get over this betrayal?
This book was Francesca Lia Block’s first novel and it shows. She is a wonderful author, but it is apparent that her craft took practice. Since Block is an award-winning author for adults and young adults, she does have a certain level of credibility as an author. Even so, this book was difficult…even having won the 2009 Phoenix Award from the Children’s Literature Association.
My Reaction: I really did not enjoy this book. I thought the plot was weird, I did not get attached to any of the characters, and I really struggled with the names of various characters. Despite my distaste for the book, I did read the whole thing (I generally don’t give books this much leeway with my time) because I was hoping that the book would turn around and surprise me. It didn’t. None of the characters had depth. Also, the genie in the lamp idea is really overdone and the fairy tale life that Weetzie lives in just seemed out of place. It wasn’t all bad, though. Things this book should be applauded for: covering topics like homosexual relationships, unconventional families, pregnancy, abortion—pre-1990, no less. But…and this is a Fat-Bottom Girls B.U.T., I am not sure that these topics will be fully understood by teenagers when they are so veiled by Block’s eccentric language and sharp plot twists.
Audience: Grades 10-12; the book discusses some adult topics and it’s really confusing. I don’t think I would feel comfortable handing this book to anyone younger than 15.
Themes: fairy tale, adult relationships, hetero- and homosexual relationships, pregnancy, witches, fantasy, adultery, trust, love
A few reasons for banning/challenge:
- Described gay marriage
- Characters have children out of wedlock
- AID epidemic
- Alternative lifestyles
- Not appropriate for age group
Should this book be banned? No. Will I read it again? Probably not, but I encourage you all to read it and make that decision for yourself.