Baby Be-Bop (Weetzie Bat Series)by Francesca Lia Block
Dirk MacDonald, a sixteen-year-old boy living in Los Angeles, comes to terms with being gay after he receives surreal storytelling visitations from his dead father and great-grandmother. See more details below
Dirk MacDonald, a sixteen-year-old boy living in Los Angeles, comes to terms with being gay after he receives surreal storytelling visitations from his dead father and great-grandmother.
Read an Excerpt
Dirk had known it since he could remember.
At nap time he lay on the mat, feeling his skin sticking to brown plastic, listening to the buzz of flies, smelling the honeysuckle through the faraway window, tasting the coating of graham cracker cookies and milk in his mouth, wanting to be racing through space. He tried to think of something he liked.
He was on a train with the fathers--all naked and cookie-colored and laughing. There under the blasts of warm water spurting from the walls as the train moved slick through the land. All the bunching calf muscles dripping water and biceps full of power comforted Dirk. He tried to see his own father's face but there was always too much steam.
Dirk knew that there was something about this train that wasn't right. One day he heard his Grandma Fifi talking to her canaries, Pirouette and Minuet, in the teacup-colored kitchen with honey sun pouring through the windows.
"I'm afraid it's hard for him without a man around, Pet," Fifi said as she put birdseed into the green domeshaped cage.
The canaries chirped at her.
"I asked him about what the men and ladies on his toy train were doing, Mini, and do you know what he said? He said they were all men taking showers together."
The canaries nuzzled each other on their perch. Pet did a perfect pirouette and Mini sang.
"I guess you're right. It's something all little boys go through. It's just a phase," Fifi said.
Just a phase. Dirk thought about those words over and over again. Just a phase. Until the train inside of him would crash. Until the thing inside of him that was wrong and bad would change.Until he would change. He waited and waited for the phase to end. When would it end? He tried to do everything fast so it would end faster. He got A's in school. He ran fast. He made his body strong so that he would be picked first for teams.
That was important--being picked first. The weak, skinny, scared boys got picked last. They got chased through the yard and had their jeans pulled up hard. Sometimes other kids threw food at them. Sometimes they went home with black eyes, bloody noses or swollen lips. Dirk knew that almost all the boys who were treated this way really did like girls. It was just that girls didn't like them yet. Dirk also knew that some of the boys that hurt them were doing it so they wouldn't have to think about liking boys themselves. They were burning, twisting and beating the part of themselves that might have once dreamed of trains and fathers.
Dirk knew that the main thing was to keep to himself and never to seem afraid.
Every Saturday afternoon his Grandma Fifi took him to see a matinee, where he could hide, dreaming, in crackling popcorn darkness. They saw James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. That was who he wanted to be. He practiced squinting and pouting. He turned up his jacket collar and rolled his jeans. He slicked back his hair, carefully leaving one stray piece falling into his eyes. James Dean was beautiful because he didn't seem afraid of anything, but when Dirk looked into his eyes he knew that he secretly was and it made Dirk love him even more.
Grandma Fifi had two friends named Martin and Merlin who were afraid in a way Dirk didn't want to be. They were both very handsome and kind and always brought candies and toys when they came over for tea and Fifi's famous pastries. But as much as Dirk liked Martin and Merlin he knew he was different from them. They talked in voices as pale and soft as the shirts they wore and they moved as gracefully as Fifi did. Their eyes were startled and sad. They had been hurt because of who they were. Dirk didn't want to be hurt that way. He wanted to be strong and to love someone who was strong; he wanted to meet any gaze, to laugh under the brightest sunlight and never hide.
Dirk especially didn't want to hide from Grandma Fifi but he wasn't sure how to tell her. He didn't want to disturb the world she had made for him in her cottage with the steep chocolate frosting roof, the birdbath held by a nymph and the seven stone dwarfs in the garden. There were so many butterflies in that garden that when Dirk was a little boy he could stand naked in a crowd of them and be completely covered. Jade-green pupas hung from the bushes like earrings. Fifi showed Dirk the gold sparks that would later become the butterflies' orange color. Then the pupa darkened and stretched and finally a fragile monarch bloomed. Fifi and Dirk put flower nectar or a mixture of honey and water on their fingertips and the newborn butterflies crawled onto them, all ticklish, and practiced fanning wings that were like amber stained glass in the sun. In the garden there were also little butterflies that looked like petals blown from the roses with the almond scent. There were peaches with pits that also smelled and looked like almonds when you cracked them open. Fifi showed Dirk how to pinch the honeysuckle blossoms that grew over the back gate so that sweet drops fell onto his tongue. She showed him how to pinch the snapdragons' jaws to make them sing. If Dirk ever cut himself playing, Fifi broke off a piece of the thick green aloe vera plant she called Love and a gel oozed out like Love's clear, thick blood. Fifi put the gel onto Dirk's cut and stuck a Peanuts Band-Aid over it; the cut always healed by the next day, skin smooth as if it had never been broken.
Meet the Author
Francesca Lia Block, winner of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award, is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books, including Weetzie Bat, Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books, the collection of stories Blood Roses, the poetry collection How to (Un)Cage a Girl, the novel The Waters & the Wild, the illustrated novella House of Dolls, and the gothic vampire romance Pretty Dead. Her work is published around the world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block is about a guy who learns about his own sexuality. At first, he is not sure if he is gay or if it is just a phase. When he does figure out that it is not a phase, he is afraid to tell anyone. His grandma also gives him a bottle that he can tell his story to, but he doesn¿t think he has anything to say. When he doesn¿t tell his story something amazing happens which makes him want to tell his story. I liked this book, but it wasn¿t my favorite of Block¿s books. It was a good book, but it didn¿t really grab me or make me interested. I wouldn¿t recommend it because it wasn¿t that funny or exciting. It was actually pretty boring. If Baby Be-Bop was the first Francesca Lia Block book that someone was going to read, I would choose a different Block book instead. I would try Cherokee Bat or Witch Baby.
This book was so amazing! The way she mixed reality with fantasy was incredible. you will get so engrossed in this book you will forget when reality ends and only the imaginable begins. EVERYONE who has ever felt different in anyway should read this book.
As a bi-sexual teen i just loved this book. It mentioned one of my favorite groups, Adam and the Ants. long live 'Ant music' the characters reminded me of me and my friends.