Dangerous Angels (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Collects the five Weetzie Bat postmodern fairy tales, in which everyone is vulnerable to the dangerous angel of love.
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Overview

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Collects the five Weetzie Bat postmodern fairy tales, in which everyone is vulnerable to the dangerous angel of love.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Five Weetzie Bat books have been collected and published together. Block is a cutting-edge young adult author who writes of a heroine who rambles in a wild Los Angeles world filled with unique characters. Several of them, like Dirk, the hero of Baby Be-Bop, are gay. Her settings are lush and her tone is a mix of dream and (sometimes) nightmare. She writes gay-lesbians as characters rather than poster children. Books such as these can help bridge the feelings of isolation that some young adults may be experiencing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613114646
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Series: Weetzie Bat Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 496
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Francesca Lia Block

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; Necklace of Kisses; a collection of stories, Blood Roses; and the poetry collection How to (Un)cage a Girl. Her work is published around the world.

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Read an Excerpt

Dangerous Angels EPB
The Weetzie Bat Books

Chapter One

Weetzie and Dirk

The reason Weetzie Bat hated high school was because no one understood. They didn't even realize where they were living. They didn't care that Marilyn's prints were practically in their backyard at Graumann's; that you could buy tomahawks and plastic palm tree wallets at Farmer's Market, and the wildest, cheapest cheese and bean and hot dog and pastrami burritos at Oki Dogs; that the waitresses wore skates at the Jetson-style Tiny Naylor's; that there was a fountain that turned tropical soda-pop colors, and a canyon where Jim Morrison and Houdini used to live, and all-night potato knishes at Canter's, and not too far away was Venice, with columns, and canals, even, like the real Venice but maybe cooler because of the surfers. There was no one who cared. Until Dirk.

Dirk was the best-looking guy at school. He wore his hair in a shoe-polish-black Mohawk and he drove a red '55 Pontiac. All the girls were infatuated with Dirk; he wouldn't pay any attention to them. But on the first day of the semester, Dirk saw Weetzie in his art class. She was a skinny girl with a bleach-blonde flat-top. Under the pink Harlequin sunglasses, strawberry lipstick, earrings dangling charms, and sugar-frosted eye shadow she was really almost beautiful. Sometimes she wore Levi's with white-suede fringe sewn down the legs and a feathered Indian headdress, sometimes old fifties' taffeta dresses covered with poetry written in glitter, or dresses made of kids' sheets printed with pink piglets or Disney characters.

"That's a great outfit," Dirk said. Weetzie was wearing her feathered headdress andher moccasins and a pink fringed mini dress.

"Thanks. I made it," she said, snapping her strawberry bubble gum. "I'm into Indians," she said. "They were here first and we treated them like shit."

"Yeah," Dirk said, touching his Mohawk. He smiled. "You want to go to a movie tonight? There's a Jayne Mansfield film festival. The Girl Can't Help It."

"Oh, I love that movie!" Weetzie said in her scratchiest voice.

Weetzie and Dirk saw The Girl Can't Help It, and Weetzie practiced walking like Jayne Mansfield and making siren noises all the way to the car.

"This really is the most slinkster-cool car I have ever seen!" she said.

"His name's Jerry," Dirk said, beaming. "Because he reminds me of Jerry Lewis. I think Jerry likes you. Let's go out in him again."

Weetzie and Dirk went to shows at the Starwood, the Whiskey, the Vex, and Cathay de Grande. They drank beers or bright-colored canned Club drinks in Jerry and told each other how cool they were. Then they went into the clubs dressed to kill in sunglasses and leather, jewels and skeletons, rosaries and fur and silver. They held on like waltzers and plunged in slamming around the pit below the stage. Weetzie spat on any skinhead who was too rough, but she always got away with it by batting her eyelashes and blowing a bubble with her gum. Sometimes Dirk dove offstage into the crowd. Weetzie hated that, but of course everyone always caught him because, with his black leather and Mohawk and armloads of chain and his dark-smudged eyes, Dirk was the coolest. After the shows, sweaty and shaky, they went to Oki Dogs for a burrito.

In the daytime, they went to matinees on Hollywood Boulevard, had strawberry sundaes with marshmallow topping at Schwab's, or went to the beach. Dirk taught Weetzie to surf. It was her lifelong dream to surf along with playing the drums in front of a stadium of adoring fans while wearing gorgeous pajamas. Dirk and Weetzie got tan and ate cheese-and-avocado sandwiches on whole-wheat bread and slept on the beach. Sometimes they skated on the boardwalk. Slinkster Dog went with them wherever they went.

When they were tired or needed comforting, Dirk and Weetzie and Slinkster Dog went to Dirk's Grandma Fifi's cottage, where Dirk had lived since his parents died. Grandma Fifi was a sweet, powdery old lady who baked tiny, white, sugar-coated pastries for them, played them tunes on a music box with a little dancing monkey on top, had two canaries she sang to, and had hair Weetzie envied-perfect white hair that sometimes had lovely blue or pink tints. Grandma Fifi had Dirk and Weetzie bring her groceries, show her their new clothes, and answer the same questions over and over again. They felt very safe and close in Fifi's cottage.

"You're my best friend in the whole world," Dirk said to Weetzie one night. They were sitting in Jerry drinking Club coladas with Slinkster Dog curled up between them.

"You're my best friend in the whole world," Weetzie said to Dirk.

Slinkster Dog's stomach gurgled with pleasure. He was very happy, because Weetzie was so happy now and her new friend Dirk let him ride in Jerry as long as he didn't pee, and they gave him pizza pie for dinner instead of that weird meat that Weetzie's mom, Brandy-Lynn, tried to dish out when he was left at home.

One night, Weetzie and Dirk and Slinkster Dog were driving down Sunset in Jerry on their way to the Odyssey. Weetzie was leaning out the window holding Rubber Chicken by his long, red toe. The breeze was filling Rubber Chicken so that he blew up like a fat, pocked balloon.

At the stoplight, a long, black limo pulled up next to Jerry. The driver leaned out and looked at Rubber Chicken.

"That is one bald-looking chicken!"

The driver threw something into the car and it landed on Weetzie's lap. She screamed.

"What is it?" Dirk exclaimed.

A hairy, black thing was perched on Weetzie's knees.

"It's a hairpiece for that bald eagle you've got there. Belonged to Burt Reynolds," the driver said, and he drove off.

Weetzie put the toupee on Rubber Chicken. Really, it looked quite nice. It made Rubber Chicken look just like the lead singer of a heavy-metal band. Dirk and Weetzie wondered how they could have let him go bald for so long.

Dangerous Angels EPB
The Weetzie Bat Books
. Copyright (c) by Francesca Block . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

About The Book:

Dangerous Angels brings together in one volume all five of Francesca Lia Block's celebrated novels about Weetzie Bat and her nontraditional L.A. family of musicians and filmmakers. Populated by fascinating characters, filled with the magic, and occasional misery of the creative life and enriched by themes of the redemptive power of love, respect for the natural world, and the universal search for self-identity, the Weetzie Bat books are modern classics in the making.

The publication of Weetzie Bat in 1989 heralded the arrival of one of the most powerfully original voices in contemporary literature. Francesca Lia Block's marriage of gritty realism and magic in the pages of her postmodern, punk fairy tale was brilliantly innovative. At the same time, her celebration of love in all of its varieties—both heterosexual and homosexual—and the expression it finds in nontraditional or blended families invited controversy among critics but attracted the passionate devotion of readers everywhere. In the books that followed, Witch Baby (1991), Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys (1992), Missing Angel Juan (1993), and Baby Be-Bop (1995) Block enriched readers' understanding of her characters, of the intertwining of love and magic, and of the conflict between light and darkness in contemporary life. Block's wonderfully lyrical writing style matches the authentic sweetness and fundamental innocence of her sensibility and that of her characters. Because of the vividness she brings to her California settings, Los Angeles is as lively a "character" as Weetzie Bat herself. Block issometimes described as a regional writer. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, her characters' search for love, self expression, and personal identity is equally indigenous to the concrete canyons of New York and the wheat fields of the Great Plains, as it is to Hollywood or Weetzie's flower bedecked home in Laurel Canyon.

Questions For Discussion:

  1. The title of this book comes from a quote from Weetzie Bat: "'Love is a dangerous angel,' Dirk said." [p. 11] What does Dirk mean by this? How would you apply this quote to the four other Weetzie Bat books?

  2. According to The New York Times, "Ms. Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler." Discuss some of the ways in which the author brings such vivid life to her setting.

  3. Missing Angel Juan takes place in New York. Does this change of setting make the novel significantly different from the other Weetzie Bat books? This is also the only Weetzie Bat novel to be told in a first person voice, that of Witch Baby. In what ways does this change the experience of reading the book?

  4. In such phrases as "lanky lizards," "duck hunt," and "slinkster cool" Block invents a "slanguage" for her characters. Can you find other examples? How do these compare with slang that you use in talking with your friends?

  5. Francesca Lia Block is also a poet. How has this influenced her style as a fiction writer?

  6. The author says that Witch Baby is the character with whom she most closely identifies. How would you describe Witch Baby as a person? How does she change over the course of the two books about her (Witch Baby and Missing Angel Juan)?

  7. Witch Baby "outs" Duck to his mother [p.110]. Why do you think she does this? Is it wrong for her to do this?

  8. Block's characters love not only one another but the natural world as well. How do they demonstrate this? How does the character of Coyote Dream Song embody this? How and why do the four magical animal "gifts" in Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys change the band members?

  9. At the end of Baby Be-Bop, Dirk thinks, "Our stories can set us free. When we set them free." [p. 478] Discuss what he means by this.

  10. Magic is a regular part of all of the Weetzie Bat books. Genies, magic lamps, ghosts, tree spirits, and more are part of the characters' daily lives. Why do you think Block adds these magical elements to her stories? Are they enriched by this intermingling of the magical and the realistic? And what do you think Block meant when she told an interviewer, "Magic and love. That's the equation, finally. Out of love there emerges transformation and transcendence." Finally, how does she demonstrate this in her use of myth and fairy tales in her novels? (E.g., the Orpheus myth in Missing Angel Juan.)

About The Author:

Francesca Lia Block, nurtured by a painter/filmmaker father and a poet mother, wrote most of her first novel, Weetzie Bat, while she was studying at the University of California–Berkley. Since then, Block has written four Weetzie sequels— Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, and Baby Be Bop. Like Weetzie, all have received high praise and prestigious awards. Ms. Block is also the author of The Hanged Man, Girl Goddess #9, and I Was a Teenage Fairy. Francesca Lia Block lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    One of my favorite books of all time

    I read this while I was in college for a children's lit. class and was so amazingly surprised by how well written and how vividly imaginative this book was. I recommended it to all of my english major friends and profs. They all loved it. You can't put it down and you won't want it to end. I anxiously await Block's next work of art!

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    Posted November 16, 2008

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    Posted May 8, 2009

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